Apr 9, 2009

    OPP and OPG Warn that warmer weather means faster and higher water

    TORONTO, April 9 /CNW/ - The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) and Ontario
Power Generation (OPG) are reminding people to use extreme care around Ontario
waterways this Easter Weekend, particularly on rivers and lakes that are near
hydroelectric stations and dams.
    "Our message is: Stay Clear! Stay Safe!" said Al Reid, Plant Group
Manager for OPG's Central Hydro Plant Group in North Bay, which covers the
Northern and South Central part of the province.
    "Easter is the first long weekend so people start to think about being
outdoors. Fishing and boating season is right around the corner and this is
the perfect time to go over water safety plans with your friends and family,"
he said.
    OPP Sergeant Dave Moffatt added: "While there may still be ice and snow
in some areas, warm weather will be here soon and that means more kids are
anxious to play outside after a hard winter. Parents should teach their
children proper water safety rules and never let them play unsupervised."
    Moffatt added that riverbanks may be slippery, so "the best advice is to
Stay Clear! Stay Safe!"
    Hydroelectric facilities in Central Hydro Plant Group are all remotely
controlled by operators at the North Bay control centre, many kilometres away.
To manage water flows, these operators open or close dams or start or stop
generators as needed. This causes frequent and rapid changes in the water flow
and levels often creating strong undertows, turbulence and sudden, powerful
gushes of water moving downstream in what was once calm looking surface water.
    All waterways where an OPG dam or hydroelectric station is located have
well-positioned warning signs, buoys, fences, booms and barriers.
    "They are there for the public's safety and to let everyone know that the
areas around the signs are dangerous, so Stay Clear! Stay Safe!," added Jeff
West, OPG's Health and Safety Advisor for Central Hydro Plant Group.
    OPG offers the public a number of educational materials on water safety
around dams and hydroelectric stations including a brochure, a DVD for adults
and an educational interactive computer game for children. The OPP and OPG
also have a television ad that warns people to stay clear, and stay safe near
hydroelectric dams and stations. You can view the ad, or request free
educational materials by visiting www.opg.com

For further information:

For further information: OPG MEDIA CONTACT: Media Desk, 1-877-592-4008
or (416) 592-4008; OPP MEDIA CONTACT: Sgt Dave Moffatt, Marine Programs,
Ontario Provincial Police, Off: (705) 329-6125, Cell: (705) 644-1097