Rescue Teams Offer Crucial Tips to Avoid Falling Through Ice

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We're only a few weeks into winter, but the Capital Area Dive Team has already been called upon for an ice-related rescue.

"A man fell through the ice on January 1, he was ice fishing," said Ingham County Sgt. Eric Jungel.

The man was able to pull himself out of the water and get home safely, but Jungel, a ten-year member of the dive team, says it could've been much worse.

"Too often people avoid the common sense factors and make victims of themselves," said Jungel.

The key to staying safe is following a few simple rules.

"First and foremost is stay off the ice. If you're unsure of how thick the ice is, the safest thing to do is avoid the ice," said Jungel.

Bill Priese of the Meridian Township Fire Department says another crucial tip is to let someone know if you're venturing onto the ice and when you'll be back.

"If you're going out fishing and you're going to be fifty yards out from the boat launch, let someone know so if something happens, we know where to find you."

To help prepare for possible rescues, the fire department practiced putting on suits and gear, Monday, specifically designed for entering icy waters.

While keeping the team warm and dry, it allows them to make the safest rescue possible for not only the victim, but for themselves.
Because as Sgt. Jungel puts it, it's important to leave the rescuing to the professionals.

"As much as it is a temptation to rescue that person, you can quickly end up with two victims," said Jungel.

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