Ottawa police warn the ice on lakes, rivers and streams across the region is getting thin, as the warm temperatures trigger the start of the spring thaw.

"No ice is safe ice," Const. Paul Baechler tells CTV News Ottawa.

The Ottawa Police Service's Marine, Dive and Trails Unit conducted an ice-rescue training exercise at Petrie Island on Thursday. Police and paramedics suited up, prepared to fall through the ice and to get back out safely.

"Today we’re really working on these belaying and safety ropes going out, to assist with people that have fallen through the ice," says Baechler.

It’s a skill they’re ready for, but don’t want to have to put to use. Police are reminding everyone that ice is unpredictable at this time of the year.

Baechler says call 911 if you see someone or a pet that has fallen through the ice, and don’t go after them.


If you do fall in, Const. Baechler says to stay calm and don’t panic.

"Immediately call for help if you can. If there’s nobody around you’re going to have to self-rescue," Baechler says.

"So, try and break away any of that thin ice, right by the shelf - move your way towards that thicker stuff, and then (spread) your body weight out, getting your arms nice and wide and just try and get your front torso on - kick as you can."

Baechler adds that once you make your way out, don’t try to stand up right away,

"You want to actually roll away from it, so keeping all your body weight on the ice surface; and then, rolling away to a distance that you believe is safe enough that you can stand - and then get yourself to shore."

"1-10-1 PRINCIPLE"

The cold water “1-10-1 Principle” is:

1 Minute - Cold Shock

10 Minutes - Cold Incapacitation

1 Hour - Hypothermia

Baechler says during that first minute, "you have one minute to control your breathing," then "10 minutes of purposeful movement; so, that’s to try and self-rescue to try and get out of the water," with the one hour, “approximately, if you’re stuck in the water before hypothermia sets in."