Ottawa

Stay off the ice, firefighters warn after busy week

Ottawa firefighters are once again warning residents to stay off the ice after a busy weekend responding to calls about dogs, people and even a paddle boarder.

Emergency crews responded to 10 calls since Monday about people, dogs

Firefighters conduct water rescue training on the Ottawa River near Petrie Island. (Ottawa Fire Services)

Ottawa firefighters are once again warning residents to stay off the ice after a busy weekend responding to calls about dogs, people and even a paddle boarder.

"No ice is safe ice," said Danielle Cardinal, a public information officer with Ottawa Fire Services

On Saturday alone, firefighters got two calls about youngsters on the thin ice of the Rideau River, Cardinal said.

The first, just before 12:30 p.m., involved children playing on the ice near Mooney's Bay with no adults in sight. Less than three hours later and 12 kilometres upstream, callers reported teenagers walking across the river between Vimy Memorial Bridge and the Chapman Mills Conservation Area.

And your little dog, too

It wasn't just two-legged miscreants: at least one caller reported a dog on the Rideau River near Stanley Park, not far from where city crews were blasting ice to prevent flooding.

Pet owners should keep their dogs on a leash to prevent them from wandering onto the ice, Cardinal said.

Firefighters even got a call from someone worried about a paddle boarder out on the Ottawa River near Remic Rapids. The adventurous boarder, who wore a wet suit, was not in danger.

In fact, only two of the 10 calls firefighters received since last Monday turned into rescues, Cardinal said.

Cardinal reminded people who call in about someone on the ice to stick around to direct emergency crews once they arrive.

Parents should also remind their kids to stay away from ice on any open water including rivers, creeks, ponds and even ditches, Cardinal said.

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