Fire personnel train for dangerous rescues on ice - FOX 32 News Chicago

Fire personnel train for dangerous rescues on ice

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(Photos by FOX 32's Craig Wall) (Photos by FOX 32's Craig Wall)
CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

It's a drill designed to prepare rescuers for the harsh reality of what could happen.

In a mock scenario, Fire Department personnel from Porter, Chesterton and Portage, Indiana responded to an emergency call of two people who fell through the ice in the Michigan City Marina. It's a dangerous mission for everyone involved, even though they're well prepared and trained.

"Great Lakes ice - it's dangerous and unpredictable. So, you look around, you see all these little cracks in it and you got to pay attention to basically what the ice is doing. It's almost like a living thing out here," said US Coast Guard Michael O'Conner.

Rescuers used an infrared imaging camera to help locate the victims.

"You could see where the water was broken, the ice itself was grey, the water was white. So, you could see where the ice was broken, so it would give us a general direction of where we needed to look," said Chesterton Fire Dept. LT. Brandon Smith.

After locating the victims, next came the careful steps needed to get them out of the frigid water without putting any rescuers in greater danger.

All in all, the Coast Guard said the drill went very well and provided critical training.

"It's important because it's so cold…elements are so dangerous that we better be good at this if we have to go out on a prolonged search, because the moment we step out here we are in danger. We need to be really good at doing this, so we can protect the public," said US Coast Guard and Chief Petty Officer Josh Janney.

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