Des Moines Fire Department’s Water Emergency Team thrives on thin ice

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The Des Moines Fire Department’s Water Emergency Team (WET) was walking on thin ice last week as they trained for winter water rescues at MacRae Park. The ice was just thick enough for the team and they seized a brief window to train in frigid conditions.

“At the beginning of winter, that’s when people tend to think it’s OK to go out on the ice, and that’s when accidents happen because the ice is really thin,” said Captain Mike Morgan of the Des Moines Fire Department. “That’s why we try to recreate those scenarios and make saves so our team can be prepared when the call comes in.”

The WET Team utilizes specialized wet suits to protect them from hypothermia while they’re in the water.

“Ice is unpredictable,” Morgan said. “It can be six inches thick in one spot, four in another and two inches somewhere else.

That’s why it’s important to know what you’re doing and stay off the ice unless you’re prepared to fall through.”

Morgan recommends that people should follow Iowa DNR advice on ice safety and be cautious on any ice covered bodies of water.

“We’re here and ready to jump in, if necessary,” Morgan said. “But most of all, we don’t want people to be in the situation where they need us to use our ice rescue training.”

Author: Press Release