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OPP remind you to use extreme caution around ice and water as temperatures fluctuate

Weather conditions have rapidly changed over the last few days triggering a warning from OPP to play safe around water.

Wellington County OPP would like to remind everyone to exercise extreme caution in and around the waterways and trails in Wellington County and throughout many areas surrounding the Grand River Watershed.

Constable Joshua Cunningham with Wellington County OPP says no matter the winter activity, be aware that the water may not be as safe as it appears.

“With the weather changing and the weather going up and down, it compromises the ice even on lakes that you think could be safe. So take a double look at it and confirm it is safe to go on.”

Other tips from OPP:

  • Check weather reports before you get out in it. Know what you’ll be up against.
  • Letting someone else know your plans can be a lifesaver. If you do have a problem your whereabouts will be easier to track.
  • Proper clothing and equipment isn’t about fashion. Floater suits, ice picks, warm scarves and mitts, GPS, and a charged cellphone can accessorize any outfit.
  • Moving water doesn’t freeze like still water and no two bodies of water freeze the same. Strong winds, heavy snow or rain and fluctuating temperatures and water levels will also affect the integrity of ice.
  • Avoid the cocktails. In addition to reducing ones physical and cognitive abilities, alcohol also expedites the effects of hypothermia by opening up blood vessels and increasing heat loss. Hypothermia occurs when your body temperature falls below 35`C and can lead to death.
  • If you are immersed in icy water, know the 1:10:1 rule. One minute to catch your breath, 10 minutes to get as much of your body out of the water as possible and one hour before going unconscious due to hypothermia. The key is to avoid panicking during the first minute of gasping; so you don’t take in water and drown. Visit www.coldwaterbootcamp.com for more information.
  • If someone is caught in icy waters, call 911 immediately. Emergency services have specialized training to help in these situations.
  • Never go out on the ice to help an animal! Most domestic pets weigh considerably less than you so there are no guaranties you’ll be supported and feral or wild animals won’t be looking for your help. Emergency services can assist and will determine the viability of a rescue.
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