Every year, the Coast Guard says it does at least one ice rescue in the Toledo area. Those rescues take time and skill, so a small group of five spent the day out on the water in Cullen Park reviewing techniques.
Crews believe they can never have enough practice. They say every chance they get they head out on the ice and practice different rescue techniques.
"It's one thing to just read about it, to see pictures, or just watch a video of it, but you have to know what to do with your hands, you have to know how to talk to the person that's in the ice, how to instruct them, and you have to know each step so you can perform everything correctly and get them out of the water," explained Anna Kasprzyk, a seaman with the U.S. Coast Guard.
With ropes and boards in hand, they trekked out to test the ice.
"We go out and we test the ice. Sometimes we have to make a hole, either we jump in or just if there's open water, we'll go in there," said Kasprzyk.
Everything done Thursday was a drill, but Kasprzyk says accidents are very real because Lake Erie, like all Great Lakes, is unpredictable and dangerous.
Kasprzyk says it is best to avoid going out on the ice unless necessary. She says every year at least one or two people fall through and have to be rescued.
She suggests never going out on the ice alone, bringing tools, like ice picks, to use to dig out of the ice after falling in, and bringing some form of communication, such as a cell phone, radio, or whistle.
Still, if someone can't get out and a rescue is needed, members of the Coast Guard say they will be ready.
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