Boise Fire crews practiced ice rescue training Thursday at Parkcenter Park as part of their annual training.
"We are getting ponds that have thick ice on them," Captain Scott Hall said. "Some of the ponds might be safe, but a pond like Parkcenter Pond where we have aerators out in the water, and we have open water and ice, those ponds are dangerous."
Within two minutes of being submerged, a victim can lose dexterity making it difficult to get themselves to shore or pull themselves from the water.
Captain Hall says bystanders should call 911 immediately if a friend or pet falls into the water, and avoid jumping in after them.
"Most times when someone goes in after the victim, we end up having two victims we need to rescue," Hall said.
While training, crews practice communication, efficiency and protocol.
"They are tied in, roped up to shore, and then take the rope out to the victim," Hall explained. "They can get there rather quickly; we can do these rescues in a couple minutes."
Crews then tie the rope around the victims chest, and are pulled to shore by a haul team.
The Boise Fire Department provides the following safety tips if you plan to be near a lake or pond this winter:
1. Take your cell phone and keep it in a Ziploc baggie. If you or someone around you goes in, call for help.
2. Wear a whistle. The sound will get people's attention that there is a problem.
3. Keep a change of clothes and blanket in your vehicle. If you go in and get wet, get out of those clothes ASAP. Hypothermia can set in fast.
4. Call 9-1-1 for assistance immediately and don't try to rescue your friend or pet on your own. The water is so cold it can take your breath away. You lose dexterity quickly.