Jenks Firefighters Complete Ice Rescue Drills
By Jeffery Smith, The News On 6
JENKS, OK -- Jenks firefighters spent Saturday training for ice rescues.
For some firefighters, it was their first time learning the ins-and-outs of ice rescue.
Captain Kirk Morris has been fighting fires for 10 years, but he got a refresher course in fighting the bitter cold. It's even dangerous through pounds of rescue gear.
"I feel it on my face; my toes are cold. It's definitely, yeah, you definitely feel it," said Captain Kirk Morris, Jenks Fire Department.
Jenks is dealing with a lot of frozen water. In addition to the Arkansas River and several creeks, the city has dozens of ponds.
"This is the first time I've actually seen the ponds froze all the way through to where you can walk on it. And it's very tempting for the young ones because they probably haven't been frozen since they seen them," said Captain Kirk Morris.
And that's why Captain Morris and his crew are getting a little bit wet, going through rescue drills, using the same equipment used in swift water rescues. But in recent temperatures, when a false step can be deadly, preparation is key.
"We have to make sure our gear is ready, our gear is in good condition, we have to make sure we can deploy it yet," said Keith Gillette, Jenks Fire Department.
Firefighters say parents need to keep their kids off the ice, even if it looks safe. Even if most of a pond is frozen solid, sun spots will thin out some of the ice and areas around fountains are also deceptively thin.
"What seems thick here, might be the next step a lot thinner," said Keith Gillette.
Jenks hasn't had a real-life ice rescue this year, but with months of cold weather ahead, firefighters say every practice run counts.
All 18 Jenks firefighters will go through ice rescue drills. Jenks reports they plan on doing rescue training every week until the temperatures start getting warmer.
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