Published on December 2, 2021

Let’s Talk Ice Safety

Winter brings about lots of fun outdoor activities. Getting outside is a great way to spend time as a family or to catch up with friends. It’s important to remember that each of us has a personal responsibility to stay away from known hazards to maintain our own safety. If signs are posted, please obey them. Information is posted at ice surfaces to help residents reduce the risk of injury. 

Stay Safe on the Ice

long deep cracks in ice

When choosing an ice surface to recreate on, keep in mind that not all surfaces are created equal. If you happen to fall through the ice, or notice that someone else has fallen through, follow the steps below.

If you fall through the ice (self-rescue steps):If someone else falls through the ice:
  • Yell to get the attention of others
  • Reach and grab onto the ice
  • Kick hard and push your stomach onto the ice
  • Roll like a log once on the ice; don’t get up to walk to the shore
  • Hang onto the ice and keep yelling if you can’t get yourself out
  • Call 911
  • Yell out the self-rescue steps to the person
  • Have them place their arms on the ice shelf and kick feet to thrust their chest onto the ice
  • Instruct the individual to roll onto the ice shelf away from the hole they created
  • Instruct the individual to exit the ice from the same path they went in (if they walked on that ice, you know it can hold them)
  • Continue watching and talking to the person until help arrives

WARNING: Sturgeon River NOT Safe

Sturgeon River looking towards Children's BridgeThe Sturgeon River is not safe to walk, skate, snowshoe, cross country ski or bring any type of vehicle onto. Even if you see others out on the river, do not go out on the ice. It is tempting to venture onto the surface, but it could result in injury. It is never safe to walk on the ice of the Sturgeon River, as water is continuously flowing beneath the surface, which impacts ice thickness. 

Many environmental factors affect ice thickness:

  • Water depth and size of body of water.
  • Currents, tides and other moving water (i.e., water from stormwater outfalls).
  • Chemicals, including salt.
  • Fluctuations in water levels.
  • Logs, rocks and docks which absorb heat from the sun.
  • Changing air temperature.
  • Shock waves from vehicles traveling on the ice.

Your Community Pond – Not a Pond After All

Graphics provided in partnership with EPCOR.

Your community pond may also look like the perfect place to play, but it has a secret. It's not a pond at all. It's a stormwater management facility and its unpredictable ice thickness also makes it unsafe for all activities. 

Unsure if there is a stormwater management facility in your neighbourhood? Take a peek at this Stormwater Management Facilities Location Map. It identifies the stormwater facilities in St. Albert.

Stormwater management facilities experience fluctuating water levels, varied water quality (i.e., salt from roads and other pollutants), and temperature changes from weather conditions making these facilities unpredictable and not safe for use. 

Reminder: Please follow all provincial public health measures in effect when participating in outdoor activities.

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Last edited: December 13, 2021