Euclid fire talks search and rescue after man pulled from frigid Lake Erie waters

EUCLID, OH (WOIO) - When the weather is this frigid, water -- in any form -- can be a danger, especially if you come into contact with it.

Case in point: this past Saturday, a Euclid man got stuck in the ice on Lake Erie while out walking along the shoreline.

As we know the lure of Lake Erie is strong, so strong in fact that many people venture too far out and put themselves in danger. Thankfully, local fire rescue teams are geared up and ready to go.

Cleveland 19 spoke with the Euclid Fire Department to see how they go about rescuing distressed people from icy waters.

"We found him stuck in that hole right there. He was probably just below chest deep in that. He was hanging onto the snow and ice like this," said Euclid Fire Capt. Dave Rowell

Rowell said crews fastened a rope around the man, and tied the other end to a post.

Thirteen minutes later they pulled the 27 year old to safety.

"How bad was it? When we got on scene he was actually trapped just above his waist in ice and snow, just about 20 feet down the cliff by the lake. He was walking along. Happened to get stuck, fell in a little bit and then as he was there he was actually starting to get buried by the waves kicking the ice and snow in the hole."

Rowell showed Cleveland 19 some of the equipment they have at the ready, just in case they're called on to rescue someone who took a wrong step.

"So this is just some more of our ice rescue equipment. We have our throw ropes. We have our PFDs," he said.

That's a personal flotation device, which is basically a life jacket.

Each crew member puts one on, whether they get in the water or not. Euclid fire knows what to do and what equipment to have on hand.

"Over here we have our ice sled. This basically forms into a sled with handles where we have a guy that goes on it. He's tied off and what we do is we pull the victim in with another rope," he said.

Divers who get in the water put on a suit like this one.

"You also have you ice picks, you have your gloves that you can cinch down and you have your hood. It basically keeps you dry, and keeps you from getting submerged," said Rowell.

The biggest lesson is, stay in your vehicles and off the ice. One can never tell just how thin or thick it is, and one false step could spell life-threatening danger, said Rowell. Also, make sure your vehicle is weather ready, have extra clothes inside, have a full tank of gas and make sure your cell phone is charged completely.

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