Missoula Rural Firefighters train for ice rescues

MISSOULA - The Missoula Rural Fire District is training for different kinds of ice rescue scenarios that could happen to anyone near a frozen lake or pond this season.

Firefighters are practicing at a lake on Red Fox Road in Lolo on Wednesday and Thursday. Crews wear special wet suits that keep them warm in the freezing water as they simulate different rescue situations. Firefighters go through every step that they normally would do if they were called out to an emergency on the ice.

This kind of training calls for a lot of focus and quick thinking because it only takes about ten minutes for a person in the freezing water to get hypothermia. Firefighters need to take advantage of every minute they have to rescue that person and practicing helps to prepare them.

"The goal today is to become familiar with our rescue operations and become familiar with the tools that we have, so when we do get called to these scenes, we can make a quick and efficient rescue," said Trenton Brown, Missoula Rural Fire District engineer.
Firefighters are also urging people to be cautious when they are near frozen lakes or ponds and if you aren't sure if you should go onto the ice, it is better to stay on the safe side.

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