Fire Crews Spend The Afternoon In Icy Waters As Part Of Training Exercise

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW)__ Saturday was an exciting day for firefighters who got to test out their water rescue skills in hopes that they will never have to use them.

This winter weather may not give you the urge to kick your shoes off and take a dip in the lake, but for some, getting into the water is a life or death situation.

"We're putting together an ice rescue drill so we can practice an emergency should somebody fall through the ice, or a pet." Said Mission Township Fire Department Chief Forrest Walter.

Just by looking at the ice packed water, you can guarantee it's breathtakingly cold if you should happen to fall in. But these heroes came prepared.

"The suits that they're wearing, there are different manufacturers that make them, but they're a dry suit. They've got a fleece lining on the inside, they are warm. A person could stand on the shore or even be in a little bit of water for probably up to four to six hours." Stated Walter

But for a person who isn't wearing a special suit, even four to six minutes could be too late.

"We've had several ice rescues, not necessarily at Sherwood Lake, but there's other waters in our district. Most of it seems to revolve around a pet first going into the water and then the owner of the pet going into the water." Said Walter

If you find yourself or your pet in the water, there are some things you can do to help yourself until rescue crews arrive.

"You want to keep calm, you want to just grab the ice and pull yourself out. Maybe you have a knife in your pocket. You can use the knife to grab and stick into the ice and pull yourself out. If you're on the ice and you feel it starting to crack, you want to get low and spread your body weight across the ice instead of standing up." Walter said.

Rescue crews also say to stay off of frozen waters because the ice is never guaranteed to be safe in all spots.

Some of the firefighters received their water rescue certifications through these drills.