Ice rescue training in Herriman gives responders first-hand experience

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HERRIMAN, Utah -- While ice rescues may be few and far between in Utah, first responders are working hard to stay up to date on all the latest techniques that could help them save people in the future.

Jason Jones, an Ice Water Training Expert tells Fox13 that there are only a few minutes from when a person falls through the ice to when it's too late.

"It’s similar to a diving reflex where it takes your breath away, literally. You’d stop breathing for a minute which induces a panic and people start thrashing around," Jones said.

On Tuesday, nearly a dozen first responders met at Blackridge Reservoir in Herriman. That training consists of gearing up in large, specially made suits, and learning techniques that are required to be taught on a national level.

"Every two years it’s re-evaluated, they go through all the procedures, new equipment, and if anything needs to change that’s been brought to their attention they can test it out over the next couple of years and it’s implemented," Jones said.

The ice water training took place on the reservoir, which currently has four inches of ice covering it. Holes were carved into the ice and from there the first responders learned, brushed up on the skills necessary to help a victim during a real-life rescue.

"If you can reach something to them, if you could throw something to them, that’s the best case scenario. We just don’t want anyone going out on the ice trying to get them," Jones said.

There were two techniques that were used by trainers, they taught the men and women with a rope and a sled.

"The sled is good for really far places like Utah Lake or larger ponds," Jones said and added, "The rope will be there regardless, you the rescuer and the victim have to be tied into the rope."

This is a one to three day training session for these first responders and it takes hours of hard work, swimming, learning before they can be ready to save lives.

"We have to have the highest level of technician people trained to get in and get them," Jones said.

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