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Great Falls firefighters practice for icy water rescues

Great Falls firefighters practice for icy water rescues
Posted at 8:56 AM, Jan 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-27 18:09:59-05

GREAT FALLS — With all the proper safety equipment, Great Falls firefighters took turns jumping into the frozen Missouri River on Tuesday afternoon and rescuing each other.

"Safety is our main concern, for ourselves and for the victim, so we've got to make sure we follow all the safety precautions. Make sure we're tied off good, secure, and that we've got backups on shore ready to go out and rescue the rescuers if needed,” said Darin Highrose, Battalion Chief with Great Falls Fire Rescue.

The training is important because they don't often get practice from real rescues because, thankfully, they don't often have to rescue someone from the ice.

"The undercurrent is pretty swift, so falling through the ice here it's going to want to sweep you under real quick. The best thing is to just stay off the river. it's hard to gauge how thick the ice is,” said Highrose. "If you fall through, especially with the undercurrent, your legs are going to want to naturally try to sweep underneath the ice. If you can lift up and get as much of your body on the ice as possible and kick your legs like you're swimming, that'll kick your back end up and hopefully you can stay that way until rescuers can arrive."

When rescuers do arrive, stay calm and follow their commands.