Tuesday, February 1, 2011  
   Volume 81 - Issue 5 Website:www.passherald.ca   email: passherald@shaw.ca   $1.00   
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Quote of the Week
“We need to protect and conserve the water in the area.”
- Dale Paton  
- Conservation Biologist   
   
 
Following recent warm and cold weather fluctuations across much of the province, the Canadian Red Cross is reminding Albertans that ice safety is now a major concern.
According to the Red Cross, ice is particularly volatile and dangerous when temperatures rise and fall, as it causes the ice to thaw and refreeze, making it unstable and weak in some areas.
In addition to air temperature, many factors affect ice thickness and stability, such as the type of water (standing or flowing), location, the time of year, depth and size of the body of water, currents and tides, chemical and salt content, fluctuations in water levels, logs and rocks absorbing heat from the sun, fish and water fowl activity, and shock waves from vehicles travelling on the ice.
When determining whether ice is safe to travel on, the Red Cross urges users to check the colour and thickness of the ice first.
Colour of the ice indicates its relative strength, with clear, blue ice being the strongest and thickest.
White, opaque ice is roughly half as strong as blue ice, and is formed by wet snow freezing on the ice surface.
Grey, cloudy ice is never safe, as it indicates the presence of water not far below the surface.
When it comes to thickness, ice should be at least 15 centimetres (6 inches) thick for walking or skating alone, 20 centimetres (8 inches) for large groups in a skating party or playing games, 25 centimetres (10 inches) for snowmobiles and all-terrain vehicles, and 40 centimetres (16 inches) for vehicles.
If travelling in a vehicle, drive slowly and carefully, and roll down your window and remove your seatbelt, so as to allow for quick escape if the vehicle falls through the ice.
The Red Cross also encourages people to always travel in groups when going out on the ice, and carry a throw rope and personal floatation device if possible.
Should a member of your group fall through, remember to ensure your own safety before attempting to rescue them, and always call for help first.
Use a hockey stick, branch, pole, belt, or some other long object to reach out to them, and avoid venturing out yourself, as you may fall in as well.
 
If you need to go onto the ice, wear a personal floatation device (if available) and carry a stick or pole to test the ice in front of you every couple of feet.
When you come near the break, lie down in order to evenly distribute your weight, and slowly crawl toward the opening.
While attempting to pull the person out, have them kick and attempt to get into a horizontal position.
Pass Powderkeg
Kimberley Massey photo
Two men patiently await a bite while ice fishing on Island Lake on Sunday, January 23rd, while being cautious and staying close to shoreline.
Once out of the water, roll or crawl onto thicker, more stable ice and signal or call for help.
If you fall through the ice when you are alone, resist the urge to climb back out where you fell in, as the ice is obviously weak in this area, and you may fall in again.
Get into a floating position on your stomach and reach forward onto the broken ice without pushing down, kicking your legs in order to push your torso onto the ice.
Once out of the water, crawl on your stomach or roll away from the open area with arms and legs spread as far as possible, and do not attempt to stand.
Attempt to dry and warm yourself or the other person and check for signs of hypothermia, and seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Ice water can cause severe hypothermia in less than 30 minutes, which can quickly lead to death.
The Crowsnest Pass Rescue Squad will be doing an ice rescue practice this Wednesday, February 2nd at the east end of Crowsnest Lake.
“We haven’t had to do any ice rescues in the past few years, but it is certainly always a possibility,” said Rescue Technician Jeff Smith.
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   Volume 81 - Issue 5 Website:www.passherald.ca   email: passherald@shaw.ca   $1.00   
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