Firefighters in Sugar Creek Township train for ice rescues

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NEW PALESTINE, Ind. — As bitter cold temperatures roll through central Indiana, firefighters are making sure they are ready for ice rescues.

Sugar Creek Township firefighters spent the day training for these emergencies.

“I cannot overstate how bad of a situation it can be with temperatures like this,” said Tony Bratcher, with the Sugar Creek Township Fire Department.  

So far, this season, crews have already suited up several times. They’ve had calls for cars in the water. Thankfully, there hasn’t been any calls for people falling through frozen water.

“For the most part this year, we’ve been lucky,” said Bratcher.

Every firefighter on the department will go through this training, from pretending to be the victim to using ropes as the rescuer.

“We’re not unlike anybody else, we have to practice with muscle memory so getting out here and doing it reminds us of what it’s like so that way when we have to do it for real, the technique is good,” explained Bratcher.

If you fall through the ice, staying calm is the most important thing. If you’re with someone who falls through, get help and stay off the ice.

“Under no circumstances would I want a bystander to go out there. I know it’s your friend, it’s your family, I know those situations are tough. But sometimes another person on the ice can cause that person to fall in and a situation went from bad to worse,” said Bratcher.

No ice is safe ice: it’s the line firefighters repeat every season, and it’s true.

“What we want people to know, under no circumstances is any ice safe. We want people to stay off the ice. Whether it’s been cold for twenty days or whether it’s been cold for one. You don’t know when the ice is going to give,” said Bratcher.

Thankfully the ice didn’t give when our cameras captured a fox running across the frozen pond during the training.  If the fox happened to fall, firefighters were ready to go in for the rescue.

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