RECENT LOCATIONS

Close
Add a location
Edit your saved locations

Watch your step around water


Conditions near the water can change in an instant, so it's important to be careful
Conditions near the water can change in an instant, so it's important to be careful

Alexandra Pope, staff writer

March 1, 2011 — Higher-than-normal water levels and ice-covered pathways can spell disaster in the springtime.

Melting ice and mixed precipitation can create dangerous conditions around rivers, lakes and ponds
Melting ice and mixed precipitation can create dangerous conditions around rivers, lakes and ponds

That's why officials with City of Toronto Fire Services are reminding people to tread carefully around bodies of water this time of year.

Fluctuating temperatures and mixed precipitation can create dangerous conditions around lakes, creeks and ponds -- and it only takes one missed step for someone to find themselves or a loved one immersed in dangerously cold water, says Capt. Mike Strapko.

On Tuesday, police in the Georgian Bay Township near Barrie responded to a snowmobiler who died after falling through the ice and into the frigid waters.

“It's important to be vigilant, especially at this time of year. Water can rise without warning ... and we have a lot of icy conditions,” he says.

If an accident happens, Strapko says the best thing to do is call 911 immediately. Emergency personnel have the equipment and the expertise to perform a safe water rescue.

“Definitely don't go after them,” Strapko advises. “A lot of times what happens is the person who goes in with the intention of doing the rescue becomes a victim as well, so then we have to recover two people.

“I know it’s a difficult thing to hold yourself back when you’re losing a pet or loved one in freezing water, but it’s extremely dangerous.”

Keep pets on a leash for maximum control around bodies of water
Keep pets on a leash for maximum control around bodies of water

The risk of slips and falls around water is elevated in the springtime, but it's important to exercise caution all year round, Strapko says.

Flash floods can strike without warning -- even if it's a beautifully sunny day in the Greater Toronto Area.

“There are a number of waterways like the Humber, and the Rouge (rivers) that come through the city. If it’s raining up north, the water’s going to have to come down through Toronto into Lake Ontario,” Strapko explains.

“It might look good here, but if it’s raining up north, the water’s going to rise with very little or no warning.”

Some tips for staying safe around the water include using a buddy system, keeping pets on a retractable leash so they are in your control at all times, and staying a safe distance back from the water.

With files from Andrea Stockton

Sign in or Sign up to submit a comment.




Comments





Take your weather with you, no matter where you go.

Get instant forecasts and alerts, right on your computer.

  • RSS & Data
Add weather updates to your website or RSS reader.