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Firefighters train for ice rescues in South Jordan


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SOUTH JORDAN -- With the below-freezing temperatures we've had this winter, most of Northern Utah's lakes have frozen over. They may look safe to walk on, but they're not as stable as you think.

Once a year, the South Jordan Fire Department performs ice water rescue training on Oquirrh Lake. Their goal is to complete the rescue in under two minutes, once they arrive on scene.

"The further you get out toward the center, the more unstable the ice is going to be to where if you're just walking out, all of a sudden you could fall through the ice," says South Jordan fire Capt. Nathan Morreale.

Morreale says his department gets called to Daybreak's Oquirrh Lake every winter to rescue those who took a risk firefighters warn you should never take.

"Somebody's walking out, and all of a sudden they just drop," Morreale says.

Often times, they're trying to save a pet.

Over the weekend, a man ran after his dog and fell through the ice on Utah Lake. He was able to get his dog out, but rescue crews had to pull him out.

"You gotta think that if your dog is out there on the ice, and the ice didn't hold your dog, how is it going to hold you?" Morreale says. "The only sure way to avoid being a victim is to stay off the ice."

Ice rescues happen a lot more than you might think. Just at Oquirrh Lake, in 2008, nine people went through the ice; in 2009, 7 people; and already this year, 2 people have fallen through the ice. And the most common victims are under the age of 12.

E-mail: jstagg@ksl.com

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Jennifer Stagg

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