Daring demonstration: Maryland Heights firefighters perform ice water rescue

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MARYLAND HEIGHTS, MO (KPLR) – A team of firefighters swarmed a lake Friday afternoon after a man fell through the ice. But the rescue was part of a training exercise for the Maryland Heights Fire Protection District. The victim in this case was a fellow firefighter.

“So that when the real emergency does hit, and I’m sure we’ll have an ice rescue this year, we’re prepared for it,” Fire Captain Robert Daus said.

Firefighter Bob Horner wore a special suit to keep him thermally protected as he went through the ice at Lakeside Crossing Court.

“The suits are warm,” Horner said. “And the water temperature actually is a little bit warmer than your outside air.”

Rescue crews use rope, a line tender, and other gear to save people –and even animals - from the ice.

“The most common rescues we go on are when people go out on the ice after a pet; a dog, typically. The dog will go through the ice,” Daus said.

Daus said pet owners should never try to rescue an animal from the water.

“If the ice has already failed with the dog, it’s going to fail with you. And then we have two things to worry about. On a couple of the rescues we’ve gone out to, the dog actually made it out to shore, while the owner was still on the ice.”

Firefighters offer two key pieces of advice when it comes to ice: do not go out on the ice and don’t go after pets.

Tips if you fall through the ice from the Maryland Heights Fire Protection District:

- Remain calm
- Control your breathing
- Position your body to where the ice broke
- Kick your legs to create lift, buoyancy, and try to roll up onto the ice
- Be prepared for loss of strength and dexterity
- Listen to commands from rescue teams when they arrive

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