On thin ice
Ice in the area is deteriorating fast

Dawn Ostrem
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (May 05/00) - The Yellowknife Fire Department is warning everyone to stay off all ice surfaces in the area.

"The approaches are becoming very unstable and although some parts are still solid, getting on and off is hazardous," said deputy fire chief Mike Lowing.

"Our main concern is children trying to get on and off."

Lowing said he can't say which areas are more unstable than others, but all bodies of water in the area are deteriorating very quickly due to water overflow, rain and wind.

"Stay away from any body of water that has ice on it," he said, adding, "we're not even testing the ice right now because we know there is rapid deterioration."

The most common scenario for an accident is people walking on the ice.

If someone were to fall through, hypothermia is the main concern, Lowing said.

If a person witnesses an incident they are encouraged not to try and help but to call the fire department immediately.

"We encourage (victims) to extend their arms out and kick with their legs," Lowing said.

"And then slink their way on to their chest and abdomen facing the shore.

"Once out of the ice hole, roll away for about 10 metres toward the shore and then crawl the rest of the way on hands and knees."

The last casualty that occurred from breaking through ice happened last fall when a man fell through thin ice while biking on it. The man was not injured.

Lowing said a big problem is also pets.

He warns that it is extremely important that owners do not try to rescue their pets.

The fire department rescued two dogs at this time last year.

The fire department held an ice rescue practice on Jackfish Lake April 26 for both full-time and volunteer firefighters