Firefighters train for ice rescues

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LAKEWOOD, Colo. -- West Metro firefighters were on and in the ice Saturday, training for ice rescues.

This time of year all metro firefighters see an increase in ice rescue calls.

"The ice around is unpredictable," West Metro Engineer Mike Simons told FOX31. "It might look like it’s real strong, but most of the ice in town is not. So people start venturing out and they fall through because it’s not as thick as they thought it was."

Dogs do the same thing. They have a tendency to chase birds, geese and other animals onto the ice and fall through.

West Metro says if that happens to people or pets, immediately call 911.

All West Metro trucks are equipped with a dry suit. A firefighter will have that suit on before the truck arrives on-scene and help someone out of the frigid water in a matter of seconds.

That's important, because when someone falls into a freezing lake, every second counts.

"(It's) not very long before you lose the ability to hold yourself out of the water," Simons said, "then you go under and that’s pretty bad."

Simons and other West Metro firefighter's gave FOX31's Matt Mauro an in-depth look at what goes into an above ice rescue.

They put Mauro in a dry suit and slid him into a hole they cut out about 100 feet offshore in Lakewood. Then the rescue started.

Simons quickly walked across the ice in his dry suit and slid in behind Mauro. Simons tied a rope around Mauro and then firefighters onshore pulled them out of the water.

Simons said one of the keys to surviving an icy plunge is staying calm. He also said to put your arms above the ice to try to keep yourself afloat.



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