Edmonton Fire Rescue Services said it has already responded to seven river rescue calls this year, a 50 per cent jump from the first two weeks of 2020. (File photo: North Saskatchewan River)

Officials are once again warning people to stay off the ice on the North Saskatchewan River and stormwater ponds.

Edmonton Fire Rescue Services said it has already responded to seven river rescue calls this year, a 50 per cent jump from the first two weeks of 2020. 

Walking on the North Sask. River's ice is NEVER safe. Not only is the ice unpredictable, but the deepest water & strongest current is often near the shore; increasing overall risks. Always keep a safe distance when walking #yeg's river valley. Read more: https://t.co/ruWlrLNMjB pic.twitter.com/eTuomVuFTy

— Edmonton Fire Rescue Services (@EdmontonFire) January 14, 2021

Ice on any body of water can give way in a moment, putting people at risk of hypothermia or worse.

"If you are pulled under an ice shelf, we can’t get to you," Bruce McWhinnie with EFRS said in a written release. "I am gravely concerned about the individual who doesn’t adhere to the warnings that result in river rescues which put the safety of citizens and our first responders in jeopardy."

Anyone who sees someone fall through the ice should call 911 and maintain a point of reference for where they were last seen.

People should never attempt to rescue a person or animal themselves.

EPCOR issued its own warning in December, after reporting an alarming increase in activities like skating and sledding on stormwater facilities.