Freezing temperatures allow first responders to practice ice rescues

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ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – All across the area, first responders have been practicing ice rescues.

West County Fire and EMS Deputy Chief Kelly Grassmuck said it hasn’t been cold enough these last few winters for departments to train on this skill.

Due to the warmer temperatures Wednesday and Thursday, the top layer of ice on the pond where crews practiced was melted.

Grassmuck said as the weather gets colder again, the top layer will re-freeze and these conditions create ice with unpredictable characteristics.

“We are going to have some different kinds of ice and some of those styles of ice can insulate the ice underneath enough to where they may start melting underneath a little bit. If we get a little bit of snow, that is also an excellent insulator of ice,” said he.

Grassmuck said most ice rescues involve kids or animals and the hardest part is getting to them quickly.