Rescue Squad boss: Stay away from water

By Geoff Lee

March 14, 2017 12:00 AM

Better safe than sorry.
That’s the advice of Lloydminster Rescue Squad chief Norm Namur when approaching any body of water with warmer weather ahead.
The first official day of spring is March 20.
“I think at this time of the year you’ve always got to be very cautious around any body of water whether it’s moving or still,” said Namur last week.
He said when it comes to snow covered lakes,  you need to be observant of what’s underneath the snow as there could be slush and weak ice to fall through.
That recalled the memory of a six year-old boy from Airdrie, Alta. who died after he and his older brother fell into a creek during a warm spell on Feb. 20.
“At this time of the year, my best advice to anyone venturing near the lakes or any body of water is to be very cautious,” said Namur.
He said the biggest warning is to stay away from flowing rivers.
“The Battle River down south, and the North Saskatchewan River are both two bodies of water that people need to be very careful with,” Namur said.
“If you’re going to be near the river, you stay well back from the edge—especially this time of year when things are so icy.”
The Rescue Squad is equipped for cold water rescues with ice suits and water survival suits.
“We can actually go in the water and stay in there for quite some time,” said Namur.
“We have a rubber dingy with a motor on it that can be utilized in any type of rescue on a small body of water.”
He said if you do fall in at this time of year, the water will be cold and your muscles won’t function fully for very long.
“The best advice is to just stay away and be very cautious around water this time of the year,” said Namur.
The squad also has an airboat and numerous ways to rescue people stranded on ice including snowmobilers or ice fishers.
“The big thing for anyone who is caught in the ice is to make sure you call us right away, because the sooner we are on the scene, the faster we can ‘remove a rescue’ from the situation,” said Namur.
He said it’s timely that ice fishing huts south of Hwy. 16 must be removed by March 15 in Saskatchewan, and areas north of Hwy. 16 by March 31.
“That’s a smart move because I think next week is supposed to be warming up,” said Namur last Thursday. “It’s better to remove them earlier than later, especially with ice shacks.”

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