VIDEO: Natrona County Sheriff’s Office Practice Ice Rescue, Offer Tips on if You Fall Through Ice
With winter having arrived and many of Wyoming's lakes and rivers frozen, numerous fishermen (and women) have spent their weekends ice fishing.
While this is a fun, relaxing (albeit chilly) hobby, it also presents a certain element of danger if one is not adequately prepared.
The Natrona County Sheriff's Office recently posted a video of an ice rescue training that they performed last year with the Natrona County Fire District.
The rescue training took place at Alcova Lake and involved both organizations getting into ice-cold weather. The NCSO used their Airboat as well and the video showed how exactly how rescues are performed.
The NCSO also offered a few tips on how to safely prepare for being on ice, or what to do if you happen to fall through the ice.
"The integrity of the ice on our lakes in the winter is changing daily," the NCSO wrote in an Instagram post. "Always check the ice conditions before going out, and have life preservers set in place. If you do fall through the ice, stay calm and wait for help while keeping your head out of the water. Don’t fight and break the ice."
Kiera Grogan, the Public Information Officer with the Natrona County Sheriff's District shared a bit of insight regarding how these rescue trainings and why they're so important to the NCSO, and the community.
"Our deputies are constantly training in preparation of emergency situations and ice rescue training is one of the many," Grogan told K2 Radio News. "Deputies practice various real-life scenarios at Alcova Reservoir, acting in real-time to ensure a quick and efficient ice rescue should the emergency ever arise. The ice rescue suits worn by deputies and first responders are completely waterproof. The flotation and insulation performance of the buoyancy liner allows personnel to immerse themselves in icy, cold water for extended periods of time."
Grogan also shared a bit more advice for ice fishers who go out onto the water.
"Ice fishing is a popular winter activity in our county," she stated. "The integrity of the ice on our lakes is constantly changing, subtle weather shifts means that ice conditions can fluctuate drastically over short time periods and distances. It is critical to check the conditions of the ice before venturing out.
"The thick, heavy clothing worn while ice fishing is typically very water absorbent, consider wearing a life-jacket or setting a flotation device nearby. Ice fishing in pairs or groups is highly encouraged, always let friends or family know where you are going and what time they can expect you back. If you do fall through the ice, get your arms up onto the ice and remain calm while waiting for help. Citizens and visitors should anticipate unreliable cell service in rural areas, they can download the BackCountrySOS app to connect with first responders in an emergency."
Video of the rescue training can be seen below: