Colorado Springs

Colorado Springs Fire Department issues ice safety tips

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The Colorado Springs Fire Department's Surface Ice Rescue Team trained crews Tuesday on how to save victims who fall through icy ponds or lakes.

There are 168 firefighters that make up the rescue team. 

"The most common things that we see are children out on the ice playing because they don't know any better," said David Crates, a driver engineer.

Last January, a six-year-old boy died after falling through an icy pond in Aurora. In 2016, a teen died in Parker after a group of friends fell into another frozen pond.

"They've got about a minute to catch their breath," said P.J. Langmaid, a firefighter with the CSFD. "Then they've got about ten minutes before severe hypothermia kicks in."

Langmaid said ice in Colorado can't stay consistently thick throughout the winter.

"We have these beautiful days where the sun comes out and it starts to melt the ice," he said. "It's called the Freeze and Thaw process, which is why it's so dangerous to walk on the ice."

Rescue crews typically drag the victim to shore because most people are unable to walk due to hypothermia.

"One of the most common reasons why people fall in is because they're going after their dog," Langmaid said. "If your dog goes through, just call us and we'll get the dog."

At any given day there are 56 firefighters trained to do this type of rescue throughout Colorado Springs.

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