Winter Tips

Ice Safety

Know the dangers of ice

Ice Factors

Many factors affect ice thickness including: type of water, location, the time of year and other environmental factors such as:

  • Water depth and size of body of water.
  • Currents, tides and other moving water.
  • Chemicals including salt.
  • Fluctuations in water levels.
  • Logs, rocks and docks absorbing heat from the sun.
  • Changing air temperature.
  • Shock waves from vehicles traveling on the ice.

Ice Colour

  • The colour of ice may be an indication of its strength.
  • Clear blue ice is strongest.
  • White opaque or snow ice is half as strong as blue ice. Opaque ice is formed by wet snow freezing on the ice.
  • Grey ice is unsafe. The grayness indicates the presence of water.

Did you know ice thickness should be:

  • 15 cm for walking or skating alone
  • 20 cm for skating parties or games
  • 25 cm for snowmobiles.

Check with local authorities before heading out. Avoid going out on ice at night.

When You Are Alone On Ice

If you get into trouble on ice and you're by yourself:

  • Call for help.
  • Resist the immediate urge to climb back out where you fell in. The ice is weak in this area.
  • Use the air trapped in your clothing to get into a floating position on your stomach.
  • Reach forward onto the broken ice without pushing down. Kick your legs to push your torso on the ice.
  • When you are back on the ice, crawl on your stomach or roll away from the open area with your arms and legs spread out as far as possible to evenly distribute your body weight. Do not stand up! Look for shore and make sure you are going in the right direction.

When You Are With Others On Ice

  • Rescuing another person from ice can be dangerous. The safest way to perform a rescue is from shore.
  • Call for help. Consider whether you can quickly get help from trained professionals (police, fire fighters or ambulance) or bystanders.
  • Check if you can reach the person using a long pole or branch from shore – if so, lie down and extend the pole to the person.
  • If you go onto ice, wear a PFD and carry a long pole or branch to test the ice in front of you. Bring something to reach or throw to the person (e.g. pole, weighted rope, line or tree branch).
  • When near the break, lie down to distribute your weight and slowly crawl toward the hole.
  • Remaining low, extend or throw your emergency rescue device (pole, rope, line or branch) to the person.
  • Have the person kick while you pull them out.

For more information


Cold Weather Safety

Stay safe and warm this winter with these cold weather tips

Winter brings an opportunity for more outdoor activities such as skiing, ice skating, sledding and snowmobiling; however, it can also bring extreme weather with blizzards, storms and very cold temperatures.

Here are some tips to keep warm and safe all season long:

  • Cover your head by wearing a hat and wear layers of tightly woven fabrics such as wool or synthetics.
  • Cover up exposed areas such as your fingers, cheeks, ears, and nose.
  • If your clothes get wet when you are in the cold, change into dry clothes as soon as possible.
  • Drink plenty of warm fluids to help your body stay warm, but avoid caffeine and alcohol.

Be on the look-out for cold-related emergencies such as frostbite and hypothermia and know what to do if they happen.

Vehicle safety
Also, make sure you prepare your vehicle for winter weather. Always check local weather conditions before heading out on the road, and create an emergency kit for your vehicle, which includes the following items:

  • Ice scraper and brush
  • Shovel
  • Sand (or cat litter)
  • Blankets
  • A candle in a deep can and waterproof matches
  • Tow chain
  • Warning light or flares
  • Flashlight
  • Hat and warm clothes
  • Food bars
  • Booster cables
  • First aid kit
  • Road maps
  • Fire extinguisher

Winter storms
As we all know, winter weather can turn sharply, with blizzards and ice storms most common in Canada, but we can plan for winter storms. The best way to protect yourself and your family is to know your risksmake a planand get a kit.

Following a winter storm, continue to take precautions and listen to local authorities for further information and instructions.

  • Avoid travelling if possible and listen to local news and weather reports for current road and weather conditions.
  • Check on vulnerable family members, friends and neighbours (the elderly, ill, disabled) who may require special assistance.
  • If you have to go outside, dress appropriately, and watch for those signs of frostbite and hypothermia.

For more information:


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