Icy training for the fire department

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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA TV) - A sunny day with cool temperatures makes a perfect day for ice rescue training.

On Wednesday, the Rapid City Fire Department took a chilly dip into Canyon Lake to practice their surface and sub-surface ice rescue skills.

These rescues are considered low frequency, but high risk. They practiced throwing rope to fake victims, entering the water and making contact, along with actually pulling the pair out of the icy water.

While members of search and rescue will be the people who enter the water, the fire department often can arrive to a scene first and get all the equipment ready so when the rescue teams arrive, they can just jump right in.

Captain Calen Maningas with the Rapid City Fire Department holds the training in various bodies of water around down and the hills. He says being able to practice where they will eventually perform is a huge win.

"It's really important to be able to come out here and train," Maningas said. "If we don't train and keep up on it our skills parish and we're not able to execute during the moment."

Last December, the fire department had to rescue two people who fell through the ice, using this exact training to save them.