Emergency responders plunge in frigid water to practice ice resc - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Emergency responders plunge in frigid water to practice ice rescues

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Dubuque Fire Department practices cold water rescue Wednesday. Dubuque Fire Department practices cold water rescue Wednesday.
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DUBUQUE (KWWL) -

You maybe tempted to get out on the ice and do a little ice fishing or even ice skating with this cold weather, but some areas of ice are still to thin.

On Wednesday, members of the Dubuque Fire Department took to that thin ice to practice cold water rescues. Officials with the department said they only see a handful of accidents during the winter where people fall through the ice, but it's always a priority to make sure members of the department are properly trained to rescue those individuals.

"The small farm ponds is where we get most of our calls. The kids are out playing and the family is out playing on the water and they might fall through, " said Greg Harris, of the Dubuque Fire Department.

Harris guided dozens of other members of the Dubuque Fire Department on the Mississippi River in the proper ways to rescue someone from cold water. Harris said the groups practiced three different methods to getting someone out of the cold water. The methods included using ice picks, a pole, and some rope.

"(We try to) reach them with a pole or something long, or we throw a rope to them. Our last option is actually sending (someone) in (the water). That's the last resort that we are going to do. We want to make sure that we have them tethered and then we have to pull our patient into the shore," said Harris.

Harris said the most important part of the process is making sure the patient remains calm while in the water. Fire officials said it's always a good idea to have a plan when you go out on the ice, in case you fall through. They said it's a good idea to keep an ice pick close by to help you get out of the ice cold water on your own.

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