New Glasgow Regional Police are warning locals to stay off the East River altogether this winter, as authorities do not check its ice thickness.
Making the East River even more dangerous is runoff including chemicals, the constant mixture of salt and fresh water and tidal levels that can crack its shoreline and drag in unsuspecting bystanders.
“The East River is not checked by any agency so we’re advising that it is not a good place to partake in any type of ice-related activities,” said Const. Ken MacDonald.
On other bodies of water, ice must be at least 15 centimetres thick for a person to walk across safely and 20 cm to support big groups of walkers or skaters. At least 25 cm is needed to support an ATV or snowmobile.
However, MacDonald said that the safest place to skate is indoors at an arena.
No outdoor body of water should be used unless authorities check ice thickness regularly.
In addition, nobody should ever venture onto outdoor ice at night.
“Any type of body of water you have to be very cautious of,” said MacDonald.
According to the Canadian Red Cross, ice colour indicates its strength. When it's a clear blue, it's at its strongest.
White or snowy ice is only half as strong as blue ice, as a lot of it is snow, which cannot take as much weight.
Grey ice is entirely unsafe and should be completely avoided.
Anyone who falls through ice should call for help and assume a floating position and reach forward, kicking their legs to push their body onto the ice.
Once back on the ice, a person should not stand up, but instead gradually crawl or roll away from the area, spreading arms and legs to evenly distribute body weight.
Anyone who sees someone else fall through the ice should resist the urge to run out onto the ice where they were.
Instead they should again call for help and attempt to perform a rescue from the shore by extending a pole or branch to the individual in trouble.