Huber Heights fire department holds ice rescue drills

Huber Heights firefighters train for water rescues in the cold.

HUBER HEIGHTS, Ohio (WDTN) – Taking the plunge into icy waters isn’t easy when it’s below freezing and pitch dark.

But that’s what Huber Heights firefighters are doing, and it’s not for a fun polar bear plunge.

Instead, it’s they are ready if they ever get the call for an ice rescue.

And looming forecasts prove that the first responders do have something to worry about.

As freezing temperatures arrive, the dangers of frozen bodies of water increase.

It’s one of many reason that’s fueling these types of drills for the department.

“It’s a hazard that we recognize as prevalent in our city,” Battallion Chief Michael Muhl said. “And our crews are trained and there are the annual refreshers they go through to be proficient in these drills.”

The Battalion Chief tells 2 NEWS the present conditions were perfect for training his team.

While the elements make it difficult, it makes the challenges even more real.

“What we are training for is the ability to get one or multiple victims out of an ice situation who has fallen through into a standing body of water through the ice,” Muhl said. “We have boats. We have rescuers who are trained in what we call ‘Go Rescue Techniques,’ where they have the ability to move out onto the ice  in protective suits and get into the water with the victim, help to extract them from that situation and get them removed back to shore.”

While Muhl can easily break down the process into steps, it’s not as easy to physically go through with the rescue.

Communication is key, preparation fuels their movements and mental strength pulls them through.

It’s all an effort to make sure if you fall into any body of frozen water, firefighters will be there to pull you out.

“The hazard is real. the frequency is low thankfully but because of the hazard being what it is, we need to be prepared and we need to be ready to act if called upon,” he explained.

That forecast is exactly why first responders keep their skills sharp year round.

Officials warn that while some frozen bodies of water may appear safe, they often are not.

That’s why they urge everyone to be on the side of caution and do not try to get onto any ice, doing that means these firefighters can battles to keeping you safe.

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