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Canadian Red Cross warns of ice safety

While the increase in temperatures across Alberta might mean freedom from frigid nights and snowy days, the Canadian Red Cross reminds everyone that ice safety is now a major concern.
Ice is particularly dangerous during fluctuating weather conditions.
In an effort to increase awareness and reduce ice-related injuries and fatalities, the Red Cross reminds everyone to think twice before going out on the ice.
The Canadian Red Cross recommends that the ice be a safe, uniform thickness for your planned activity: 15 cm (six inches) for small groups to skate or walk, 20 cm (eight inches) for large groups such as skating parties, 25 cm (10 inches) for snowmobiles, or all-terrain vehicles, and 40 cm (16 inches) for a vehicle.
The ice should be checked each time you plan to go out on the ice. Remember, weather conditions and temperatures affect both the thickness and stability of the ice.
The colour of ice is one of the best indicators of ice strength.

  • Clear blue ice is the strongest.
  • White opaque or snow ice is half as strong as blue ice. Wet snow freezes on ice to form opaque ice.

    Grey ice is unsafe. The greyness indicates the presence of water.

Should someone fall through the ice, remember to ensure your safety before rescuing the victim.
Use an object such as a hockey stick, pole, branch, or belt to reach out to a person who has fallen through ice.
Avoid venturing out on the ice yourself – you may fall in too.
If you fall through the ice yourself, use your legs to kick yourself into a horizontal position. Swim, roll or slither onto stable and thicker ice.
Once the person has been rescued, ensure they are treated for hypothermia. Get the victim dry and never give alcohol to warm someone.
Seek medical attention as soon as possible.

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