ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- Cold water accidents may not be as common in the Stateline, but water rescue crews don't want to gamble with our safety. Today wraps up the second day of training for Rockford Firefighters, as they complete the course with a dive training.
A 911 call in icy, cold water may save a person's life. The dive team tells us cold water sends our bodies into hypothermia, forcing our organs to shut down at a much slower pace than if the water was warm. Saturday, 27 water rescuers went through training. On Sunday, only 7 completed the course. Crew members say it's because diving is more challenging and dangerous. It also requires an extra Ice Diving Certification. Firefighters were trained on getting adjusted to the 40 pounds of gear strapped to their back. They also need to get used to the water pressure so they don't risk rupturing an ear drum.
"It's intimidating. The element of difficulty goes up because of the ice. A few more dangers you need to worry about with that. It puts our safety a little bit more at risk," according to Kevin Jordal, Rockford Firefighter and Paramedic.
Firefighters say a young boy survived after being under water for 2 hours. That just goes to show the effect cold water has on our bodies. Rescuers say if we are drowning, make sure we swim towards the darkest spot on the surface. It's usually an indication there's no ice.