OFS spending too much time on the water

OTTAWA – Ottawa firefighters are raising the warning, stay away from the waterways.

“Since Monday, March 18, Ottawa Fire Services (OFS) has received a significant number of emergency calls regarding reports of dogs or people appearing in distress in or around area waterways,” OFS public information officer Danielle Cardinal said in a release. “OFS Water Rescue teams were dispatched to these emergencies and we would like to remind residents to exercise additional caution. As mentioned by our partners at Ottawa Police there are significant dangers association with ice thaw.” 

Courtesy OFS
Courtesy OFS

Luckily, most calls did not require the use of our Water Rescue boats or fortunas.

“However, persons were taking unnecessary risks by being on the ice,” Cardinal said. “Namely, pet owners, young children and teenagers were found near open bodies of water. It is crucial parents and pet owners take steps to ensure the safety of their children and pets. Our Water Rescue technicians are equipped with their safety systems and boats to venture onto the ice to retrieve the persons and assist with the removal of the pets. However, prevention and education are key in keeping people safe.”

The OFS reminds outdoor enthusiasts, parents and pet owners, ice conditions are unstable and unsafe. 

“We kindly request that persons exercise extreme caution around waterways such as: rivers, ponds, creeks and ditches,” Cardinal said. “It is highly recommended you talk to your children about the dangers and keep them at arm’s length near water sources. Lastly, we kindly request that pet owners keep their pets on a leash. Please do not jeopardize your own safety by venturing onto the ice or into the water. Residents are advised to call emergency services if someone’s life is in danger.”

The OFS thanks callers who advised the authorities of the various emergencies. If safe to do so, callers remaining on scene to meet emergency responders allow the OFS to locate persons in danger more rapidly.