Fire & Rescue Service





VIDEO:  Never Fish On Thin Ice


VIDEO:  What to do if you fall through the ice!


In northern climates with lots of lakes and rivers, ice is a common sight for a handful of months each year. The formation of ice provides the opportunity to enjoy a variety of winter activities, such as ice fishing, playing hockey and cross-country skiing. However, unless the ice is thick and can withstand your weight, there is a danger of falling through the ice into extremely cold water. Once in the water, panic, hypothermia and drowning are all difficult challenges to overcome. Surviving a fall through the ice is certainly possible, but it takes courage and knowledge of some life-saving tips.


Brace yourself. Once you have the sickening realization that you're falling through the ice and into the cold water, you need to brace yourself and stop your reflex to gasp and breath in if your head gets submerged. Breathing in freezing water is a sure way to drown, so force yourself to hold your breath underwater until you can resurface. The shock of being in freezing water should not be underestimated, as it causes immediate changes to your breathing and heart rates.
  • Once in the cold water, your body's "cold shock response" will make you want to gasp for air and hyperventilate because your heart rate accelerates rapidly, but avoid doing so, especially if you're underwater.[1] This initial shock typically wears off in 1-3 minutes as your body slightly acclimatizes.
  • Although the initial cold shock passes, you're still in grave danger of quickly developing hypothermia, which means your body loses heat faster than it produces it. Just a 4-degree drop in body temperature can trigger hypothermia.
Keep as calm as possible. The physical pain of being submerged in freezing water combined with all the physiological changes in response to "cold shock" (increased heart and breathing rates, high blood pressure, adrenaline release) can easily lead to panic.[2] However, remaining calm and controlling your breathing allows you to think better and develop a plan to get out of the water. You don't have a lot of time, but likely more time than a panicky mind perceives.
  • Hypothermia occurs as your body temperature passes below 95°F, but it takes some time to get there and depends on many factors.[3] Keeping your head above water will buy you more time.
  • Depending on physical conditioning, amount of body fat, type and layering of clothing, ambient temperature, wind chill factor etc., it can take between 10-45 minutes to develop hypothermia and lose consciousness in cold water.
  • Try to get rid of all heavy objects that are weighing you down, such as a backpack, fanny pack or skis. It'll reduce your risk of drowning.
Focus all your energy on getting out immediately. Once you've calmed down a little and got your head above water, you must focus all your energy on getting out as quickly as you can instead of trying to tread water and wait for help. Remaining in the water by flailing around or treading water can shorten your survival time by 50%.[4] Orientate yourself and focus on getting back to wear you fell in, as the edges are probably sturdy enough to support you getting out.
  • If underwater, always look for contrasting color. When the ice is covered with snow, the hole will appear darker; ice without snow will make the hole look lighter.
  • In most cases, neuromuscular cooling or "swim failure" is a bigger and more immediate concern than hypothermia.[5] In essence, most people will have between 3-5 minutes before the cold water incapacitates their muscles and coordination, making it very difficult or impossible to swim and kick their legs.
  • If you are with other people, yell loudly to let them know you've fallen in. They may not be willing or able to help you, but at least they won't abandon you and might be able to make an emergency call from their cell phone.
Get horizontal and kick your legs. Once you're orientated and decide where you're going to exit the water, quickly swim towards it and grab onto the edge of the ice. Get as much of your upper body as possible out of the water. Grab onto the top of the ice and use your forearms and elbows to prop yourself up. Then position your lower body horizontally and kick your legs as strongly as possible in hopes of propelling yourself out of the water and onto the ice — much like seals in the arctic do.[6]
  • Once you've lifted your upper body on to the edge of the ice, wait a few seconds to let your clothes drain as much water as possible. It will reduce your weight and make it easier for you to actually propel yourself out of the water.
  • If you're unable to get out of the water after about 10 minutes, then you're almost certainly not going to get out by your own efforts as swim failure and hypothermia will be upon you — but don't panic at this stage either.
  • If you can't get out by yourself, conserve your energy (and heat) by moving as little as possible and wait for rescue. Cross your legs to conserve heat and try to keep your arms out of the water, as your body loses heat 32x faster in cold water than in cold air.[7]
Roll over the ice once you're out. Once you've propelled yourself out of the cold water, then resist the urge to stand up and run for the shore because you may fall in again. Instead, remain spread out on the ice (so that your weight is distributed across a larger area) and slowly roll your body toward thicker ice or hard ground.[8][9]
  • At the very least, roll away from the hole in the ice by several feet before attempting to stand up.
  • If you can, trace your tracks back to shore or hard ground — it held your weight previously, so it'll likely hold your weight again.
  • Remember that you should always stay off ice that's only 3 inches thick or less, especially during warmer days when the ice is thawing.[10]
  • At least 4 inches of ice thickness is needed for ice fishing, walking or cross country skiing, whereas at least 5-6 inches is needed to support a snowmobile or ATV.

Surviving Once You're Out


Retrace your footsteps back to safety. Once you're out of the water, only part of your struggle for survival is complete because hypothermia is likely fast advancing within your body. As such, once on safe footing, quickly retrace your footsteps or path back to shore and/or your vehicle or cabin so you can get warmed up. Your leg muscles will likely not want to cooperate due to the cold shock, so you may have to crawl or drag yourself.
  • Ask for immediate assistance if there are people near by. They may not have any survival or emergency medical knowledge, but they can at least help you get to a safe place and maybe call for additional help.
  • Initial signs and symptoms of hypothermia include shivering, dizziness, hyperventilation, increased heart rate, slight confusion, difficulty speaking, clumsiness and moderate fatigue.[11]
  • Signs of severe hypothermia include more advanced confusion, poor decision making, lack of coordination, violent shivering (or none at all), slurred speech or incoherent mumbling, weak pulse, shallow breathing and progressive loss of consciousness.[12]
Take off wet clothes. It may seem counterintuitive during the moment, but taking off wet clothes is the fastest way to increase your core body temperature –– assuming you have dry clothes or a source of heat available.[13] An external source of heat can't penetrate wet clothing and warm you up, so remove them quickly and wrap yourself in dry clothes and/or blankets.
  • Find an area sheltered from the wind or elements before removing clothing, preferably a dwelling or a vehicle. If not, then stand behind some trees, rocks or a snow drift to protect yourself from the additional chill of the wind.
  • If you are only in the early stages of hypothermia and still feel like you have some excess energy, do some push-ups or basic calisthenics after removing your clothes in attempts to warm up and improve blood flow.
Get warmed up. Once you've removed your wet clothes, you need to find dry replacements and a source of heat quickly. With advanced hypothermia, you may not be shivering any longer or feel very cold (you will probably be numb), but don't let that fool you. If you didn't bring a change of clothes, then ask others for extra clothes, jackets or blankets. Make sure to cover your head and insulate your body and feet from the cold ground.[14]
  • If you don't have a dwelling or vehicle to get warm in, you'll have to make a fire. Make sure you're out of your wet clothing and into something dry before collecting wood and making a fire. Get people to help if they're nearby.
  • Once you are in front of a heat source (fireplace, heat vents in a vehicle, campfire) bring your knees to your chest and keep your legs tight together to conserve your body heat. If you are with other people, huddle together in a tight circle facing each other in order to share body heat.[15]
  • Drink or ask for a warm beverage, such as coffee, tea or hot chocolate. The mug will warm your hands and the liquid will warm your insides.
  • Never use hot water, heat lamps or heating pads to treat hypothermia.[16] Extreme heat can damage your skin or trigger irregular heartbeats and a heart attack. Remember, you are trying to slowly and safely increase your core body temperature, and this can take a few hours.


  • Do not try to remove clothing layers; these trap air and can help make you float more easily. Removing clothing also wastes valuable time.
  • When walking on ice you are unsure of use a "spud bar" (long metal probing pole) to test the strength of the ice in front of you.
  • If you fall into ice off a snowmobile, let go of the machine. As soon as it starts falling into the ice, let go, leap off and roll sideways.
  • If you're wearing skis, kick them off immediately while in the water. Skis can make it extremely difficult to get out of the water.
  • Wear a flotation suit if you're traveling by snowmobile.
  • Warm spells in winter and early spring are the most dangerous times to venture onto ice. Thawing weakens the ice and thins it.


  • Would-be rescuers frequently fall through the ice themselves. Exercise extreme caution when attempting to rescue someone who has fallen through ice, and try to talk them out from a distance or throw them a line while standing on safe ice.




The Administration for the Lincoln Fire and Rescue Service is located at the Town Municipal Office at 4800 South Service Road in Beamsville.


Administrative issues can be addressed by contacting:


Fire Chief: Greg Hudson
(905) 563-8205 Ext. 253 (Office)                                            

Deputy Fire Chief:  Bill Blake
(905) 563-8205 Ext. 261 (Office)

Fire Prevention Officer:  Trevor Doomernik
(905) 563-8206 Ext. 255 (Office)

Emergency Functions

Lincoln Fire Rescue and Emergency Services is well equipped to respond to a variety of emergencies including structural and vehicle fires, motor vehicle collisions, industrial accidents, water and ice rescues, hazardous materials incidents, and medical emergencies.  We respond to approximately 900 emergency calls per year town-wide, with individual station responses ranging from about 100 calls to 500 calls annually per station.

Staff and Equipment Makeup 

The Lincoln Fire Rescue and Emergency Services Department is a composite fire department with 98 volunteers for suppression, a full-time Fire Prevention Officer, Deputy Fire Chief, Fire Chief. Administration Offices are located at Town Hall. The fire department operates 4 fire stations located strategically throughout the Town that house 1 aerial ladder track, 1 heavy rescue truck, 3 tankers, 4 pumpers and 3 medical squads equipped with specialized emergency equipment.

Fire Prevention

The Lincoln Fire Rescue and Emergency Services Department provides a wide range of fire prevention programs from public education to code enforcement. The fire prevention office is responsible for fire safety inspections, community fire risk assessments, fire cause and origin investigations, site and building plans examinations, and public education.

Fire Prevention Officer Trevor Doomernik can be reached by email at tdoomernik@lincoln,ca or by telephone 905-563-8205 extension 255

Fire Safety Inspections

If you would like an Inspection of your building you can request an inspector by using the following form fire safety inspection request form. Complete the form and either mail with payment by cheque to:

Town of Lincoln Fire Prevention Office
4800 South Service Road
Beamsville, ON L0R 1B1

or alternatively bring it to the Town of Lincoln municipal office with payment in debit, cash or cheque. 

Please note the Town of Lincoln does not accept credit card payment for inspections.

Town of Lincoln Fees for services By-law sets the costs for fire inspections.  A copy of the by law can be found by clicking this link Town of Lincoln Fees for Service By-Law
If you are aware of an IMMEDIATELY LIFE THREATENING fire code violation you are advised to contact the fire prevention office directly. Inspections are done on a regular, request or complaint basis.

Fire Safety Education

Lincoln Fire Rescue & Emergency Services offers information on a variety of important safety topics, everything you need to know to keep you, your family, and your neighbors safe from fire and related hazards. Browse the categories below to find the topic you're looking for.

•    TAPP-C The Arson Prevention Program for Children

•    Fire Safety Information for Teens heading out on their own
•    Home Escape Plans

•    Safety tips for the Holiday Seasons

•    Cooking Safety

•    Carbon Monoxide

•    Smoke Alarms
•    Older Adult Fire Safety

Fire Code Enforcement

  • The Town of Lincoln fire prevention division has a responsibility to enforce the requirements of the Fire Protection and Prevention Act, 97 (FPPA) to ensure a minimum level of Life Safety is maintained in the various occupancies in the town. Enforcement of the FPPA and all of its regulations is taken very seriously.
  • It is the responsibility of a property owner to ensure that all applicable regulations and statutes are complied with. Property owners who fail to ensure that their properties meet the minimum standards of fire and life safety can be charge under the Provincial Offences Act and are subject to penalties as outlined in the FPPA. These fines can be up to $50,000 for an individual, imprisonment for a term of not more than one year, or both, or $100,000 for a corporation​

Town of Lincoln By-Laws 

Open Air Burning

  • An “open air fire” is defined as a fire in any open place, yard, field or area which is not contained or enclosed by a building or structure, and includes agricultural fires, outdoor fireplaces and chimineas, bonfires, and campfires.
  • Open air burning in the Town of Lincoln is regulated by By-Law No. 2013-03 and requires a valid Open Air Fire Permit. Permits are available from the Town of Lincoln Municipal Offices at 4800 South Service Road, Beamsville. There is a $20.00 application fee to cover administrative costs.  There is no fee for a Farm Permits on lands zoned for agricultural purposes used for bona fide farming operations.  Open Air Fire permits are valid for the calendar year, and expire on December 31 of each year. 
  • Barbecues, gas-fired appliances, and fires of limited size covered by a metal screen or grate and used strictly for the purpose of cooking do not require an Open Air Fire Permit.
  • A summary of the rules for open air burning are printed on the back of the Open Air Fire Permit, and can be viewed here: Burn Permit Quick Reference 
  • Please burn safely and responsibly. Setting or maintaining an open air fire without a permit, or in contravention of the By-Law is a violation of the Fire Code, which may result in prosecution and fines and/or imprisonment upon conviction. In addition, if the fire department is required to respond to extinguish an unlawful open air fire, cost recovery fees of $410 per vehicle dispatched for each hour or part will be charged.
  • Town of Lincoln By-Law 2013-03 sets out fees for ticketable offences.​

Fire Lanes and Parking Bylaw

  • Be aware that there are enforced restrictions throughout the town related to public parking and fire lane access. Signs post where parking is disallowed related to general parking as well as fire lane access. Illegally parked vehicles that may impede timely and efficient emergency equipment access will be ticketed by By-Law Enforcement Officers.  
  • Town of Lincoln By-Law 2005-70

Smoke Alarms

Smoke Alarms are the single most important tool towards combating loss of life due to fires. These simple yet cost effective alarms have saved countless lives and millions of dollars in property loss. The installation and maintenance of these devices is essential in protecting your family. Additionally, the design, practice and use of a very basic home evacuation plan in the event of a fire may be the difference between life and death. A working smoke alarm on every level of your home is required by Ontario law.

Where should I install my smoke alarm?

The smoke alarm should be installed between each sleeping area and the remainder of the building or where a sleeping area is served by a hallway, install the alarm in the hall. Always install the smoke alarm on or near the ceiling in accordance with the manufacturer's installation instructions. (see diagram)


All Ontario homes must have a working smoke alarm on every storey and outside all sleeping areas. The Ontario Building Code requires newer homes to have smoke alarms in all bedrooms.  The fire department strongly advices the installation of smoke alarms in bedrooms of all homes as well.  It is hoped there will be a reduction of the number of preventable fire-related injuries and fatalities. 

How do I maintain my smoke alarm?

Smoke alarms must be maintained according to the manufacturer’s instructions.  Models are available with limited battery life, life of the alarm batteries, hardwired to your household electric wiring or a combination so it is important that you read and follow the maintenance instructions for your smoke alarms.

Dust can clog a smoke alarm, so carefully vacuum the inside of a battery powered unit using the soft bristle brush. If electrically connected, shut off the power and vacuum the outside vents only. Restore power and test the unit when finished.

Smoke alarms do wear out, so if you think your alarms are more than 10 years old, replace them with new ones.

Smoke Alarm – Landlords and Tenants

  • Landlords are responsible for installing and maintaining Smoke alarms in their rental units
  • Landlords are required to test Smoke alarms in rental units annually and when changes are made to the electric circuit or a change of tenancy occurs.
  • Landlords are required to provide tenants with smoke alarm maintenance instructions.
  • Tenants must not remove the batteries or tamper with Smoke alarms in any way.
  • Tenants are required to inform the Landlord when a smoke alarm is disconnected; not working or the operation has been impaired in any way.
  • Smoke alarms must be tested every month by pressing the test button.

Any person who disables a smoke alarm will be charged under the Provincial Offences Act.

Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a gas that you can’t see, smell or taste. It is produced by gas or oil furnaces, space and water heaters, clothes dryers, ovens, wood stoves and other household appliances that run on fuels such as wood, gas, oil or coal. Carbon monoxide poisoning is the number one cause of accidental poisoning deaths in North America. 

Over 80% of CO-related injuries and deaths in Ontario occur in the home (source: TSSA).

Why is carbon monoxide so deadly?

When you inhale CO, it can cause brain damage, suffocation or death. Because you cannot see, smell or taste this deadly gas, poisoning can happen to anyone, anytime, anywhere. Everyone is at risk but pregnant women, young children, senior citizens and people with heart and lung problems are at greater risk.

Warning signs

CO poisoning and the flu seem a lot alike at first. Early warning signs of low-level poisoning include tiredness, headaches, dizziness, nausea or vomiting and shortness of breath. Your skin may also turn pink or red. If you experience any of these symptoms, you may be suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning and should call 9-1-1 as well as talk to your doctor.

Carbon Monoxide Law

Carbon monoxide alarm installation requirements

  • If your home has a fuel-burning appliance, a fireplace or an attached garage, install a carbon monoxide alarm adjacent to each sleeping area.
  • If there is a fuel-burning appliance in your condo/apartment, install a carbon monoxide alarm adjacent to each sleeping area.
  • If your building has a service room, carbon monoxide alarms must be installed in the service room and adjacent to each sleeping area above, below and beside the service room.
  • If your building has a garage, carbon monoxide alarms must be installed adjacent to each sleeping area above, below and beside the garage.
  • For added protection, install a carbon monoxide alarm on every storey of the home according to manufacturer’s instructions

Fuel-burning appliances include furnaces, hot water heaters, gas or wood fireplaces, portable fuel-burning heaters and generators, barbeques, stoves and vehicles.

“adjacent to each sleeping area” means the hallway serving or area outside the sleeping area. For instance, a CO alarm must be installed in the hallway adjacent to multiple bedrooms in a house or apartment. However, there may be situations where “adjacent to each sleeping area” refers to the area around the bed, within the bedroom or sleeping area itself.

Compliance with the legislation will be phased-in:

  • Homeowners and property owners/tenants in buildings that contain no more than 6 suites must comply as of April 15, 2015.
  • Residential occupancy owners of buildings with more than 6 suites have 12 months to comply (October 15, 2015).
  • CO alarms that have already been installed must be maintained in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Carbon Monoxide Alarm Maintenance

Have a qualified service technician inspect and clean your fuel-burning appliances, furnace, vent pipe and chimney flues once a year. Bird’s nests, twigs and old mortar in chimneys can block proper ventilation and lead to build-up of carbon monoxide gas in the home.

Test your carbon monoxide alarm regularly to make sure it is operating properly. The owner’s manual should tell you how to test your alarm. Remember to check the manual for information on when to buy a new carbon monoxide alarm.

What should you do if the Carbon Monoxide Alarm sounds?

If the alarm sounds, you and all members of your household should leave your home immediately. From outside the home, call 9-1-1. Don’t go back inside until the problem has been found and corrected. Fire Service personnel will inspect your home to find the source of the carbon monoxide.

Carbon Monoxide Alarms – Landlords and Tenants

  • Landlords are responsible for installing and maintaining CO alarms in their rental units
  • Landlords are required to test CO alarms in rental units annually and when the battery is replaced, changes are made to the electric circuit or a change of tenancy occurs.
  • It is against the law for tenants to remove the batteries or tamper with CO alarms in any way.
  • Test CO alarms every month by pressing the test button.
  • Replace batteries every year.
  • Replace CO alarms according to manufacturer's instructions

Obtaining a Fire Incident Report

After a fire occurs, property owners, tenants, insurance companies, or other parties may request a copy of the Fire Incident Report to verify that the fire did indeed occur.  The report contains a summary of basic information pertaining to the incident that was collected in accordance with the reporting requirements of the Fire Protection and Prevention Act

To obtain a copy of a Fire Incident Report, a request must be made in writing to:

 Fire Chief

Town of Lincoln Fire Rescue & Emergency Services
4800 South Service Road,
Beamsville, Ontario L0R 1B1

The request must include the following information:

  •    Name  and contact information of the person requesting the report
  •    Municipal address of the property
  •    Property owner name(s)
  •    Date of the incident

In accordance with the Town of Lincoln Fees and Charges By-Law, there is currently a fee of $100 to obtain a Fire Incident Report.  Payment of the prescribed fee must be provided with the request. Cheques should be made payable to the Town of Lincoln.  Please do not mail cash.

The Fire Incident Report will be only provided to the owner of the property, and to agencies or individuals who provide proof that the owner authorizes the release of information to them.  If the owner wishes another party to receive a copy of the Fire Incident Report, a completed Authorization To Release Information form should be attached to the request.

If information beyond that which is contained in the Fire Incident Report is required, or if the requestor does not have the consent of the property owner to obtain a copy of the report, access to information under the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act may be requested by contacting the Director of Corporate Services/Clerk.

Student Safety

Lincoln Fire Rescue & Emergency Services is proud to have supported and be a part of Niagara College, Brock University, the Niagara Regional Fire Chiefs Association and the Ontario Municipal Fire Prevention Officers Association, Niagara Chapter with the Knowfire fire safety awareness program for young adults who are venturing out into the world on their own for the first time. For more information on this program please follow the link: Knowfire


4800 South Service Road
Beamsville, Ontario
L0R 1B1
TEL: (905) 563-8205
FAX: (905) 563-6566
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