GRFD trains for ice rescues on Grand River

A member of the Grand Rapids Fire Department tests ice rescue equipment on Dec. 28, 2017 on the Grand River in Comstock Park, Mich.

COMSTOCK PARK, Mich. (WOOD) — As West Michigan continues to bare frigid temperatures, the Grand Rapids Fire Department is getting prepared for ice rescues.

On Thursday afternoon, it practiced at Riverside Park. This type of training is critical for the department as people do frequent the park even during these temperatures and accidents still happen.

On Tuesday, crews had to a rescue a dog at the park who fell through the ice. The department utilized it’s ice rescue sled at the park.

They were able to simulate the steps to safely rescue someone from the water by pulling them in with a tether.

Cpt. Jack Johnson said people should dress appropriately in this weather because of what could happen in the cold and to avoid the ice altogether.

“River ice is 10 times more dangerous than lake ice, the river is constantly moving underneath that ice,” Johnson said. “You don’t where there’s a thin spot you don’t know where there’s a thick spot. Just stay off you know the Grand River altogether.”

So far, the department says it’s only responded to animal rescue calls. But, they do this training so they’re always prepared.