The Calgary Fire Department is reminding Calgarians to stay off all storm ponds.
According to the CFD, water levels and currents change rapidly in the winter months which can cause cracks and weak ice, making storm ponds extremely dangerous for skating or other activities.
“Calgary Firefighters really like seeing citizens outside enjoying all Calgary has to offer, in terms of outdoor activities, but they really don’t want Calgarians to put themselves and those around them in danger by skating on thin ice,” Carol Henke, Calgary Fire Department public information officer, said in a statement.
Storm ponds are part of the City of Calgary’s stormwater infrastructure and are in several communities across the city.
The ponds are marked by caution signs around the perimeter to remind people they are prohibited.
The CFD says because it’s difficult to assess the thickness of the ice and its ability to hold the weight of a person do not walk or skate on ice-covered storm ponds.
“Water covered by ice is extremely cold and can be really dangerous to both individuals and pets who have fallen through the ice, as well as to those who may try to help them,” said Henke.
Officials say if you fall through ice into the water:
- stay calm and try to keep your head out of the water
- control your breathing
- call for help and keep your hands on the ice shelf
- try to pull yourself up on the ice on your stomach and roll towards the shore
- if you can't get out of the water in less than 10 minutes, stop kicking and trying to pull yourself out. Anchor yourself to the edge of the ice. Continue to call for help.
If you witness a person falling through the ice:
- stay back and call 911 for help
- if the person is able to get out the water on to the ice or shore, throw an aid to the person such as a branch or rope that can be used to help pull them to safety.
More information about storm ponds is available on the city’s website.