Rescue Crews Train On Ice With New Boat

For most people, when it's twelve degrees below freezing going out on the river is the last thing on their mind. But for the Waterloo Fire and Rescue Squad, it is perfect conditions to practice ice rescues.

"This boat keeps us out in all climates of the weather, as you can see today it is 20 degrees outside and we are able to perform on top of the ice in a safe way," said Chief Travis Harlow, Waterloo Fire.

It's the pockets of water that are dangerous. If a person were to fall in the water today, "hypothermia will set in immediately. And within in matters of minutes you will lose your grip on the ice," said Harlow.

It's a scary situation, but these guys will see about one ice rescue a year.

This is the first winter with their new air boat. It basically has a corvette engine with 550 horse power. It can travel from Elkorn Crossing down the river to Q street in just 20 minutes."

Everyone needs to measure the ice before going out onto it. The sun can change the thickness of the ice from safe to dangerous in just a matter of hours.

If you do fall into the water, stay calm. "Don't fight the rescuer when they get in behind you, go ahead and try to keep yourself on your arms, up on the ledge of the ice and allow the rescuer to get behind you and put the tether rope around you," said Harlow.

No one should go out onto the ice unless it is three to four inches thick.

These certified rescuers want people to know, snow mobiles and four wheelers are not safe out on the ice.

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