Firefighters Plunge Into Ice Cold Water To Train, Save Lives Of Others

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UPDATED: Friday January 17, 2014 9:11 AM

It's a risk they wager often when the temperature dips below freezing: ice water rescues.

Columbus firefighters train hard, and often, to make sure they do their best to save lives when called on.

What firefighters do could be considered counter-intuitive.  They run towards fire, into burning buildings.  When it gets cold outside, and people fall into frozen water, they rush right in behind them hoping to save lives.

“One of the dangers, well number one… obviously, it's cold outside. Especially for the person that's in the water,” said Columbus Firefighter Mike Powell.

Time is of essence for these firefighters out on the ice.

They say everything they're doing in this drill will save a life, when called on.

“They have very little time before they become incapacitated and go under water,” said Powell.

They take turns in the ice-cold water.  They say their suits keep them afloat and alive.  Many times, like at a recent water rescue of a deer, they say there's no telling where the ice will break.

When training at a pond, they cut a deliberate hole to expose the water.

Even still, they say dangers lie all around.

“You knew the danger when you signed up for the job 31 so when the situation presents itself, you go into go mode,” said Columbus Firefighter Elisha Holmes.

The suit they wear into the water is one piece.  It is connected to keep out the water, and keep in the warmth.

Once in the water, the suit inflates, and a firefighter comes to the rescue.

This is a training situation, but in a real-life setting, a matter of seconds is a matter of life or death.

Training prepares these firefighters so that next time they’re called on, they're ready, putting themselves at risk, to save the lives of others.

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