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County man who survived fall through ice helps create safety video

Prince Edward County resident and municipal councillor Bill Roberts thought he knew ice.

“I’ve skied to the North Pole and explored in Antarctica, I thought I knew ice. But two years ago I found out I didn’t know ice. It was Feb. 3rd, 2021. I was out on the Bay of Quinte all by myself – alone. It was getting pretty dark and I went through the ice not far from Northport. I barely survived. I was very lucky.”

Two years to the date, Roberts shared his story in a ‘No Ice is Safe Ice’ safety video message created with members of the Quinte Region Drowning Prevention Coalition (QRDPC) including Prince Edward OPP, PEC’s Fire and Rescue and Hastings Quinte Paramedics.

The QRDPC includes 17 agencies in Hastings and Prince Edward counties. It was launched in 2021 to promote safe water related activities and behaviour through outreach and awareness programs.

“It’s great to work with the QRDPC,” Roberts shared with Facebook friends, “reminding folks to never go out on the ice alone; know the dangers of ice, and always be prepared. Because “No Ice Is Safe Ice!”

“Please make the safe decision to stay off the ice,” said Constable Aaron Miller, Community Safety officer with Prince Edward OPP. “Don’t put your own life, and the lives of first responders at risk.”

Thick ice may also be weak if it contains layers of water, or has been frozen and thawed repeatedly.

Staff Sergeant John Hatch, Detachment Commander with the Prince Edward OPP, says the safety message is timely.

“With the fluctuations that we are currently seeing with the weather around Prince Edward County right now (i.e. a low of -27 degrees C this week, but calling for a high of +6 degrees C next week), it’s a very important message!”

The OPP add that for those who do venture out, proper use of safety equipment can reduce the risks of traveling over ice-covered bodies of water. Possibilities include wearing survival suits, carrying picks (used to grip ice to pull yourself out of the water) and carrying a rescue rope.

Prince Edward County firefighters practicing ice rescue skills  and techniques in this file photo.

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