BOISE -- Thursday, Boise firefighters submerged themselves in a hole in the ice for practice. So, if you ever find yourself in that terrifying and life-threatening situation, they can be better prepared to get you out.
Captain Shawn Res of the Boise Fire Dive Team sees a lot of water rescues during the summer. But right now, his big concerns are ice rescues. But Res and his team can sometimes be too far away to make an ice rescue in time.
"Hypothermia can come on rapidly," said Res. "It's a scary situation. Your breath immediately gets taken away. You lose dexterity in your extremities very quickly."
So, about 54 Boise firefighters from regular engine companies around the city came out to the mostly-frozen Bob Rice Pond to train on making surface ice rescues.
"It's people crawling out on unsafe ice, getting into the ice hole with the victim, attaching them to the rope, and actually pulling them to safety to the shore," said Res. "In the event that we have someone go through the ice, they can make a quick rescue, without having to wait for the dive team to get there."
Josh Zimmerly was one of the firefighters training. "People are bound to get out there. It does happen, so it's important that we're ready and trained and prepared to go get them."
Res says this is the time of year they see ice rescues, where it's cold enough for ice, but warm enough that the ice isn't very thick. "All the ice in Boise needs to be considered unsafe."
But, why would someone even be out on the ice? Res says they often see pets run out on the ice, and when their owners go out to try to rescue them, they both fall through and become trapped.
"People aren't going to standby while their dogs are out struggling in the ice." said Res. "A lot of the dog owners consider those dogs members of their family. They'll go in and try to rescue their dog, and then become a victim themselves."
Zimmerly says you should just stay off any ice around the city. "Obviously, our units are all over the city, strategically placed to try and create the smallest response time possible. Call 911. Let us come, and let us take care of it."
But, if someone does fall in, Res hopes now, every firefighter is trained and ready to make a quick rescue. "It's definitely a matter of life and death."
Firefighters say they don't need a big crew to complete an ice rescue either. They say just three people can pull someone out of the ice, like they were doing in training.