WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – You may have noticed several fire trucks in Wichita’s Watson Park Thursday afternoon. It wasn’t because of an emergency it was to prepare firefighters just in case they have to rescue someone on a frozen pond.
A department lieutenant says they remind people every year about the dangers of walking on frozen ponds or rivers. But it hasn’t prevented tragedies in recent years, so they want to stress how important it is to stay off.
Thursday it was a practice run for firefighter Tim Mason.
But it hasn’t always been that way with his team on the ice.
“It was last year, and I believe the victim was deceased,” said Tim Mason, Wichita firefighter.
He says it’s why the department’s rescue team exercises are so important. Thursday the group rotated members in victim rescue scenarios on and under the ice.
Members prepare for the cold training by suiting up.
“The water doesn’t affect us we’ve got these suits that keep us from getting wet, if you didn’t have these suits though you will instantly freeze up, freeze to the ice,” said Mason.
The team says they heard reports of two people walking on this ice just earlier this week. They want people to understand this is never safe anywhere in the state.
While you may think the ice is thick enough, Wichita Fire says no ice is safe ice in Kansas.
Lieutenant Neko McBee says they haven’t had good ice to train on in three to five years so they are taking advantage of it this year.But he says they have dry suits and breathing systems when on the ice and he hopes people who aren’t trained to be on the frozen water. make the right decision this winter.
“Hopefully they turn around and go back to the bank because I really don’t want to make this call,” said Lt. Neko McBee, Wichita Fire Department Rescue.
So far, this year they haven’t had to respond to any emergencies on the ice. Other members of the fire department besides the rescue team also receive this type of training.