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As the weather outside grows more frightful this holiday season, the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service and Winnipeg Police Service want to remind people to be safe when heading out onto frozen waters. 

The two organizations held a news conference today to remind Winnipeggers of the dangers of thin ice. 

"We had two calls a couple days ago where we had some individuals who got onto the ice and police and fire crews both responded," Winnipeg Police Service River Patrol Unit member Ray Duma said. "Stay off of our frozen waterways, we don't want any tragic consequences for something that is so preventable." 

The WFPS responds to an average of 200 calls of people trapped on ice per year, according to the city. 

"It takes a while for crews to respond if you fall in the water," WFPS public education officer Fred deGroot said, "Unfortunately then you become a rescue situation and we want to avoid that at all costs, so stay off the ice and be safe." 

deGroot says hypothermia can set in very quickly for someone who is trapped in water, especially in the winter. Both he and Duma say at any time of winter, regardless of the temperature, it's important to stay off waterways that haven't explicitly been deemed safe by either city or provincial officials. 

The city is also reminding people that while the WPS River Patrol Unit places “Danger - Thin Ice” signage at specific locations including outfalls, retention ponds and other potentially dangerous areas, all ice should be considered unsafe even if warning signage is not present.

They are hoping to get this message to teachers and parents, who can relay it to their students and children. 

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