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Ice Rescue Training

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With the fickle Midwest temperatures, areas of ice that were once frozen may now be very thin and that's already proven to be deadly. An Illinois man was killed after falling through the ice just last week. It's a scenario local fire fighters hope never happens, but they want to be prepared for it. That's why on Saturday the Camanche Fire Department got together for ice rescue training.

"If you don't get out of the water and get help, within minutes it might be too late," said on-looker Karla Yahn.

Yahn came out to watch and learn from the training. She knows first hand what it's like to come crashing through a sheet of ice.

 "I was very young, probably nine years old and I'll never forget it, the experience of taking the breath away and the cold."

 It's a scary situation for anyone involved, that's why the fire fighters are preparing themselves for the worst.

"The main key for here is basically safety, you have to stay safe. When we have someone in the water, the last thing we want is to have more people fall in, creates a bigger scenario for us," said Cory Snodgrass, a Camanche Fire Fighter and EMT.

That's where a variety of techniques come into play. Dressed in water proof suits, the fire fighters worked as team Saturday. They used everything from ropes and a branch to a boat, as tools to complete a rescue.

"Being by the river, there is definitely a lot of probability to having to do a rescue similar to this," Fire Fighter Todd Powers said.

Powers has only been with the department for two months and this was his first time on the ice and in the water. He not only learned how to rescue others, but he also learned tips and tricks to pull himself out of the water. He says having this training under his belt feels good.

"I am a lot more comfortable with it and a lot more confident."

Fire fighters say if you fall through the ice the best thing to do is stay calm and try and put your forearms on the ice to help hold you up until help arrives. They say it's also a good idea to carry a whistle and ice picks with you.