Local firefighters train to rescue those who’ve fallen through icy ponds, lakes

GRANDVIEW, Mo. -- Firefighters are taking advantage of all the below freezing temperatures lately to sharpen their life-saving skills. Some first responders are spending the next three days jumping into frigid water.

Ice rescues don't happen very often. In fact, last year firefighters said they didn't have an ice-covered body of water to train in.

But this year is a different story.

With all the snow and ice this winter, firefighters know kids have had many days out of school, and it's just a matter of time before some may wander onto a frozen pond like Fountain Lake.

New firefighters like Laura Kreglo want to be prepared. She's trying out new bodysuits the fire department recently purchased and learning the proper technique for rescuing a victim who's plunged through the ice, without putting herself or anyone else in danger.

"I think that if we would have gotten a call prior to this training I would have been a little bit more fish out of water," Kreglo said. "But now I definitely feel more comfortable if we were to get a call like this."

Just the thought of jumping in a lake on a below freezing day makes some shiver, until they learn that the bodysuits firefighters wear during these rescues actually make them hot. The only wetness they feel is from their own sweat.

The suits also provide rescuers with some buoyancy, which helps firefighters climb in and out of the bone-chilling waters.

The training is designed to give rescue crews confidence when they have to walk out on thin ice in slippery and frigid conditions.

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