With the temperatures hovering above and below freezing
over the past few weeks.
your safety on the ice is constantly changing.
The La Crosse Dive unit is called to one or two rescues
and tonight they're practicing those life saving skills.
News 8's Kyle Dimke put on a wet suit and took part
in that training..
He joins us now with the story.
Tonight the La Crosse Area Dive Unit brought some
new team members out to practice the basic ice rescue
The dive unit is called out to an ice rescue once
or twice each year.
and the team needs to be prepared for it all.
Which is what makes training like this so important.
NATS: How's it going? I'm ok.
How many people are out here? Just me.
How long have you been in the water? Only about 5-10
Jeff Jensky has been a part of the La Crosse Area
Dive Unit for about two years.
Jeff: 1- I would say it's nerve racking, but exciting.
He says he decided to be a part of this team for one
Jeff: 2- I know I'm making a difference in somebody
elses life whether it's a rescue or potentially bringing
someone back to a loved one
Jeff and I worked together during the training on
Jeff: 3- We were working on self-rescues for us and
rescuing someone out on the water.
GPX: The dive unit has 4 methods of rescuing someone.
The first one is reach.
Kevin: 3- If at all possible we want to reach something
with a reach pole, a pipe pole, a long stick,
GPX: The second method is rope.
Kevin: 3- throw a rope, throw jumper cables, extension
cord, something to the person in the water if we're
GPX: Next is Boat.
Kevin: 3- we would use an inflatable boat, a small
fishing boat, an air boat, some type of boat to get
out and rescue the victim.
GPX: The final and most dangerous rescue.
Kevin: That's when a person puts on our suit, is tethered
back to shore with a rope and they actually enter
the water and enter the ice, the dangerous area to
try and get that victim out safely
Training officer Kevin Kappauf says it's important
to train for all of these types of rescues.
at all times of the day.
to make sure his team is preparred for anything.
Kevin: 8- Huge difference at night, everything, especially
in the winter time, things are going to freeze up
and and night everything multiplies by 2 or 3 times
Now we were in specialized suits tonight.
But the training officer says if someone were to fall
through the ice in plain clothes.
they would only have about 10 minutes before their
muscles are too stiff to move.
He says after about an hour you will pass out and
That's why he recommends never being alone on the
and when you are out there.
you should always have a tool like an ice pick to
pull yourself out of the water.
The Wisconsin D-N-R recommends at least 4 inches of
solid, clear ice before anyone walks on it.
The best way to check is to actually drill a hole
and measure it before walking out too far.