Rapid City Fire Department conducts ice rescue training

Published: Feb. 17, 2021 at 5:20 PM CST
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - The Rapid City Fire Department along with the Pennington County Water Rescue Team conducted training exercises Wednesday at Canyon Lake Park to help prepare firefighters for ice rescues. There are different ways that everyone in the department can play a part in making a daring water rescue.

After previously occurring once every year, The Rapid City Fire Department now trains its members twice a year for ice and water rescues. Different stations are tasked with different levels of skills to aid in rescues. Fire Station 3 is fully certified and is on the front lines of pulling people out of the water.

Lieutenant Hunter Harlan said that while ice rescues are rare, it’s important that the department is well trained.

“Nothing can replace the will to survive, and I think once you see emergency services showing up on the scene, we’re going to have you out quickly,” Harlan said. “We have a very professional group of firefighters at Station 3 and the department in general, and everybody knows how to handle their business.”

While many people enjoy recreation out on the ice, the fire department does say there are precautions that need to be taken when dealing with ice recreation.

Captain Keith Trojanowski with Station 3 said that while they train for rescues, their first priority is to get the word out to prevent people from falling in cold water. He says if someone finds themself in that situation to keep calm until first responders arrive.

“Try to keep your head above the water, and if you have no other way to escape and you’re becoming really tired, just try to lessen your heat loss areas, keep that area kind of warm and close, and stay on the ice shelf which will keep you afloat, and we’ll be coming.”

Trojanowski says those on the ice should stay as close to the shoreline as possible.

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