Jenks Firefighters Train For Rescues On Thin Ice

Tuesday, December 10th 2013, 4:43 pm
By: Tess Maune

Six-year-old Jorge Luna, who died last weekend after he fell through the ice on Tulsa's Joe Creek, is one of 11 people statewide who have died due to the recent winter storm. And the body of 15-year-old Claremore boy, Keith Chambers was found in an icy pond Tuesday.

Frozen ponds and creeks are a very real danger during the winter months. That's why Jenks firefighters are out training right now on the best way to pull someone out of the frigid waters.

"It's a more realistic scenario," said Captain Paul Jenkins. "The guys can feel how difficult it is to get up across the ice."

Pushing their way through an ice-covered pond, Jenks firefighters got about as close to a real-life winter water rescue as possible.

"The ice is going to break up underneath them. They have to maneuver their way through it, so it's better than any classroom experience," Jenkins said.

12/20/2013 Related Story: Body Of Missing Claremore Teen Recovered From Pond

Jenkins said the training exercise has been on the books for some time now. The frigid temperatures, just happened to fall at the right time.

"Oh, it was freezing," said firefighter Paul Linam.

The team was dressed in air-tight dry suits.

"It covers your whole body. It doesn't allow water to get in," Linam said.

One firefighter played the victim, far out in the water, while two others broke through ice and paddled out to make the save.

"[It was] a little difficult. We had to break up the ice before we got out there. Very tedious--we'll put it like that," Linam said.

But it wasn't exhausting enough to keep Linam from wanting to try again. He made a special request to run the rescue mission a second time.

12/10/2013 Related Story: Police Release Name Of Tulsa 6 Year Old Who Died After Falling Through Ice

"The more experience, especially with the child that fell in, in Tulsa, it opens up your eyes that things can happen around here," Linam said.

The ice on the pond is about two inches thick--not enough to walk on. Firefighters say the closer you are to shore, the thinner the ice, and it doesn't take much to fall through.

"[It's] not good to walk on, no. It's too dangerous to be out there, so we need to keep the kids off the ice," Jenkins said.

If a child or adult does end up in icy water and you're on the shoreline, Jenkins said you should call 911 first. Then you can try to throw something to them, to help pull them back to land, but never go in after that person.