Onalaska Fire Department trains for icy rescues - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Onalaska Fire Department trains for icy rescues


Onalaska, Wisconsin (WXOW) ----- Drowning is the 3rd leading cause of death in the U.S.   The chances of surviving in winter diminish only a few minutes after someone goes through the ice.  

"We're gonna have the guys go down to the water, practice and basically refamiliarize themselves with the gear." Captain Rick Molzahn says the purpose is to practice for the real thing.

EMS Coordinator, Rick Conway says it's good training to have because you never know when you'll need it.  "Believe it or not we don't have too many of these but we do have them and when we do we're ready." 

Like fighting fires, response time is everything.  But instead of using a hose, their tool is a rope, a boat, ice picks and a Mustang suit.  The suit is bulky and hard to get around in but enables fire fighters to battle the cold when out on a rescue.

The Onalaska Fire Department warns people that going out on the ice alone is unsafe and never try to rescue someone yourself.  Instead call 911 immediately.


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