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Colorado Springs firefighters undergo ice rescue training at Pikeview Reservoir

Ice Rescue Training
Posted at 6:31 PM, Feb 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-07 23:01:07-05

COLORADO SPRINGS — On a bluebird day like today, you might be tempted to walk onto a frozen lake or pond.

But the Colorado Springs Fire Department says instead of skating on thin ice, you could find yourself in real trouble.

"Our ice is not good, so we have a city ordinance that doesn't allow for people to ice fish or be out on the ice at all. We don't have skating rinks or any of those things because our ice is dangerous," said Lieutenant Curt Crumb of the Colorado Springs Fire Department.

But why?

Given our recent stretch of cold weather, you might think that the ice here is thick and sturdy, but Crumb says that fluctuating temperatures can make it very unstable.

Our assignment today is to join Crumb and other city firefighters for a special ice rescue training session.

Before entering the water, we're given some instructions while trying on a big yellow safety suit they call the gumby suit.

It allows us to float more easily near the water's surface instead of struggling to get out of it, therefore making this excerise much safer.

"It's real easy for us in our suits because they're buoyant. It's a lot harden when someone's in clothes," said Crumb.

Crumb tells News5 that every person that does the training has to do two self-rescues, which I try as well.

In another simulation, I climb back into the water and call out for help.

One of the firefighters from the excerise comes to rescue me, talking to me along the way to make sure that I'm OK.

In a flash, I'm dry and safe back on land.

The fire department says a vast majority of their rescues involve our four-legged friends.

A good safety tip is to always keep your pets on a leash around any frozen body of water.

And if your dog falls into the water, Crumb has this message.

"If your pets go through, call us. We will come out and we will get them. Don't risk yourself...and I understand that they're our loved ones. Their best chance for survival and rescue is us, not you," said Crumb.

Firefighters in Colorado Springs are required to pass a certification at least once per year, which is especially important in the winter when fire crews are likely to perform these life saving tactics on a weekly basis.