Ice rescue teams train at Potato Creek State Park - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Ice rescue teams train at Potato Creek State Park

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Many of us like wintertime activities like skating, hockey, and ice fishing. Sometimes though, they can turn dangerous. The Indiana Department of Natural Resources is on a mission to train more people to perform ice rescue missions.

Fred Wooley drove in from Pokagon State Park in Angola to be a student under the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. The group trained on Worster Lake at the Potato Creek State Park. After going through two hours of training, Wooley says he feels like he could handle the job alone. "I do," he says, "The equipment that we had or don't have, I feel we could react. The main thing is just getting people to stay calm and use some of those simple techniques like staying low to the ice and rolling."

Officer Jonathan Boyd says, "It only takes seconds before you start feeling the effects of hypothermia, muscle fatigue. So the people at our parks are usually the first people to arrive on scene. And when those people only have minutes, they have to be able to affect the rescue. Every year in Indiana, we eventually have someone that goes out on the ice and falls through. And Indiana Conservation Officers are responsible for responding to and investigating all water related incidences."

Ice rescue students learned three ways to fish out a survivor quickly by rope and with a rescue sled. The rescuer and rescuee were strapped in to ice rescue "gumby suits" that allow trainees to stay warm and buoyant when training. The group also learned techniques to get yourself out. Fortunately for trainers and students, gumby suits are a great way to stay warm in cold conditions to keep you afloat. That's why the Department of Natural Resources says everyone should at least wear a life jacket. "A lot of people bring them out on the boat, but forget to bring them out on the ice," says Boyd. The Department of Natural Resources says you should always have a partner when you're out on the ice and make sure someone at home knows your plans.

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