FRUITA, Colo. (KKCO/KJCT)-- It was a chilly day Wednesday, even chiller for our reporter Stephanie Bennett.
She took a dip into the frozen waters with the Lower Valley Fire crew as they held their annual ice rescue training. Putting their lifesaving skills to the test.
"The challenging part is we never know when these calls are going to come up,” said Beau Edic, Lieutenant & Ice Tech, Lower Valley Fire District.
Several dogs have already fallen through the ice this winter and earlier this month two men died after they fell through an icy lake on the Grand Mesa.
"Ice in itself is very dangerous, it’s very unpredictable especially with this elevation, with this climate it could change almost daily,” said Edic.
Wednesday three ice techs spent the morning teaching the rest of their crew the basics in case of an emergency.
"You know it's one to have somebody go out on the ice it's a whole other thing for everybody in the shore to be included in collaborating with getting the rescuer back to shore,” said Edic.
The team has to work together. The ice tech gets in the freezing waters to rescue the victim. Once secured, they attach that victim to a flotation device and a sled. Those on the shore then pull the sled to safety.
"We get them scooped up and secured in our rope rigging system and then hauled back to shore."
To become a fully certified ice tech they have to perform 40 hours of training.
"It’s imperative if your pet goes out to wait for us to show up…because once you fall in the water you become our priority and then we got to add more rescuers more personnel, more equipment to the mess."
In the summer, they switch gears and focus on river rescues, vehicle extractions, and high elevation, rocky rescues like when you go hiking.