Firefighters train for water rescues - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Firefighters train for water rescues

Posted: Updated:

The only ice most people want to see this time of year goes in their holiday drinks.

But, a few people see the ice as an opportunity to go skating or fishing, which can be dangerous.

That's why Waterloo firefighters are training for search and rescue efforts on the Cedar River.

Despite chilly temperatures and frigid water, these professionals are learning a lot while having a good time.

These fearless firefighters had no problem stepping right out on the ice and falling in the Cedar River.

The sound of cracking ice on the Cedar River would make most people anxious, but not for firefighters like AJ Elliott.

"We're practicing and getting reacquainted with all our ice rescue equipment. So, if someone were to fall into the ice, this is what we would deploy, and the tactics we would use to rescue that person," Elliott said.

AJ reminds people to be extra cautious of ice over bodies of water, even though temperatures are dropping.

"It's going to be very cold. Ice can be very deceiving, and it can get you pretty quick. So, just be safe," Elliott said.

More than 50 feet of solid ice stretches out from the Cedar River banks, and even though these guys are wearing special suits to keep them warm, dry and above water, they say each step closer to the water can be scary.

"The suits help you cheat. You end up sweating instead of being cold. There's a lot of buoyancy. It's still pretty unsettling. You don't know when you're going to go. When you hear that click, you're going under. It helps us too to know how fast it can happen to someone in an accident," Elliott said.

Firefighters said they have to go through training every year for water rescues.

So, if they're ever called to an emergency, they're prepared.

A few firefighters added, they were surprised George Wyth has not yet frozen this year.

Powered by Frankly