Colorado Springs Fire Trains For Ice Rescues

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11 News reporter Alyssa Chin played willing victim for firefighters in an ice rescue training session at Memorial Park in Colorado Springs Saturday afternoon.

The training comes at a time when firefighters say they've been seeing an increase in ice rescues. The Colorado Springs Fire and Rescue team said their main goal is to keep people off the ice.

For an up close look into how rescues work, first things first. I had to get into a safety training suit. Then the training began. I hopped into water that was just 40 degrees and followed instructions, which was to wait for help.

Firefighters said if we’re ever trapped, there are three key things all people need to remember.

“Not to panic, hold onto the (ice) shelf, and wait for help.”

Rescuers told me they always go around to the back of the victim to create leverage with the rope.

"We got ahead and make a certain signal that we go ahead and the patient starts getting pulled up on the ice," firefighter/heavy rescuer Eric Ruettinger said.

The training was all done under the watchful eye and safety of those trained firefighters.

Already this season CSFD has been called out to several rescues for pet owners who went onto the ice after their animals. Firefighters said it's the inconsistent temperatures that create the patchy and unsafe ice.

We asked pet owners what they would do if their pets ran out on their own.

"I think I’d be too scared to jump into the ice."
"I probably would for my little dog, if it were my child though, definitely, 100 percent."
"The last thing that would help her is me falling in too."

Last year we saw an ice rescue turn deadly after a man went in after his dog and drowned. Rescuers told me they understand animals will venture off on their own, but they will always be there to help if called. They said there is no reason anyone should put themselves in a bad situation.

"Just please stay on the shore. Call to (your pets), they're going to try to come back to you, most likely. They may be out chasing the ducks. We understand that, but try to call to them from the shore, do not go out onto the ice,” Ruettinger said.

Firefighters say the best advice: stay off the ice.