Ice Fishing Safety

Manitoba Post StaffNews

WINNIPEG – After two people from Winnipeg were found dead in an ice fishing tent near Selkirk, Manitoba RCMP are warning those on the ice to take precautions. The Mounties say carbon monoxide poisoning is a possibility, but the exact cause of death won’t be known until autopsies are done.

Safety experts say those heading out onto frozen water can avoid danger by practicing a few fundamentals:

Danger related to carbon monoxide arises when there’s no way to vent fumes and smoke out of a shelter. Every year there are reports of accidents that occur from heating or cooking equipment used in tents. Be sure to read and follow any safety and installation instructions that come with any equipment you use.

– Stoves and heaters should be fitted in well-ventilated shelters: Keep a door or flap open, and never go to sleep while the equipment is burning or turned on. Bring sleeping bags that provide maximum insulation if you plan to spend the night on the ice.

– Using a carbon monoxide alarm (which can sell for under $40) when camping or fishing is highly recommended. Place the alarm centrally, at head-height, 1 metre from the stove or heater, and test it on a regular basis.

-If you have a wood-burning stove, make sure its flue is clean. Burn dry, well-seasoned wood to prevent soot build-up.

CO Poisoning symptoms: A headache is usually the most common and first symptom of CO poisoning. Also, watch out for dizziness or disorientation, nausea or stomach pain, feeling weak or tired, and shortness of breath. If you think you or someone around you has carbon monoxide poisoning, get them out and away from the tent, and get emergency medical help right away.

Other ice safety tips: Ice that forms over open water is never 100 per cent safe.

• Verify the ice conditions and confirm its thickness. Stay off if it’s 10 cm or less, and don’t drive a vehicle onto the ice unless it’s at least 20 cm

• Avoid ice that has recently frozen, thawed, and then froze again

• Tell someone where you are going and what time you expect to be back

For more on ice safety, you can go to the Lifesaving Society of Manitoba’s website here.

Manitoba RCMP are also warning an increase in illegal alcohol and cannabis consumption on the ice and inside ice fishing shelters. The fine for having open alcohol is $672.