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West Metro Fire trains for ice rescues at Bear Creek Lake Park

Posted at 10:52 AM, Jan 09, 2019

LAKEWOOD, Colo. — West Metro Fire and Rescue held an annual ice rescue training at the Bear Creek Reservoir in Bear Creek Lake Park on Wednesday.

Crews took turns rescuing each other while wearing bright yellow rubber suits known as "gumby" suits. They practiced scenarios where somebody had fallen through the ice and needed help getting out. As each crew arrived, the rescue teams suited up and went out onto the ice to rescue the person.

“When the first rig shows up, the person in charge kind of assesses the situation," said West Metro Firefighter and Paramedic Eric Balzhiser. "(That person) determines if it’s a surface ice rescue versus an underwater rescue."

Balzhiser said rescuers try to prepare for different situation, but it's difficult to predict a victim's reaction.

"More often than not, they're going to be very panicked," he said. "We’re going to try to coax them into facing the shore."

According to Balzhiser, this season, they haven't had to rescue anyone.

“We’ve been dispatched to a couple people on the ice, and dogs through the ice but... either the dog was able to get out on its own or the person never really fell through the ice," he said.

With the proper training under their belt, he said, West Metro Fire and Rescue is ready to help anyone in need this winter.