MONTREAL -- COVID-19 isn't the only health hazard facing Montrealers, as the city's fire department is warning of an increase in ice-related accidents.

According to department spokesperson Simon Brien, the number of people who fell through ice in January was more than double the number during the same time last year.

Brien attributed the increase to ice being thinner than it might appear.

“It wasn't that cold in the first part of winter, so the ice isn't that strong,” he said.

The pandemic has played a role as well, as many more Montrealers are spending time outdoors.

“Last year at this same time of year we had 10 calls, now we're over 24,” said Brien's colleague, Francois Vincent.

As a precaution, the firefighters are asking Montrealers to stay off the ice, even if it looks thick.

Vincent warned that while the fire department response time for accidents is fast, it may not be fast enough for someone who has fallen through ice.

“You're going to lose some heat, you're going to get exhausted and then you're going to start being dizzy and lose consciousness,” he said.