Retention ponds a new risk that has Eagle Fire training for ice rescues and offering advice for those who fall through the cracks. Video by IdahoOnYourSide.comvideo
Retention ponds are a common and generally attractive feature in developments across the treasure valley.
But this time of year, they can be very dangerous.
Thin ice is forming and the risk is always there that someone could fall through.
That's one of the reasons the eagle fire department is practicing ice rescues.
They contacted On Your Side exclusively to participate in the training and show you what to do when the ice cracks.
Idaho On Your Side recruited a production staff member
To don a coast guard ice suit ...
Walk out on the ice...
And play the victim...
"You've probably got about five minutes before you're not able to grab a rope or broom handle," says Bill Stone of the Eagle Fire Department.
The Eagle Fire Department is training in the wake of a number of high profile ice rescues and drownings nationwide.
"We live in Northern climate and water freezes here and we have to be well trained at this," says Stone,
"If you just have the equipment and don't practice you're not getting better. We utilize both to improve out ability to help the public."
If you're wondering where the concern is, it's not the river, it's the retention ponds that are all over the Treasure Valley. Many are covered with snow and you wouldn't know they're there because there are no signs saying thin ice and kids walk by here every day to and from school.
So what do you do if you fall in?
"The biggest thing is to remain calm." says Stone, "Try to get into the tuck position and hold onto the edge of the ice and yell for help the best you can."
Then wait for rescue to arrive.
There's no reliable way to tell if ice is thick enough, so the best advice is to tell your kids to stay off it completely.
If you see someone fall through ice, first calm the victim, call for help, then try to find a long stick or rope to pull the victim out.
But at all costs, avoid going out on the ice yourself. And if you fall through the ice, turn around and try to climb out the way you went in, that's usually where the ice is thickest.