Dog rescued from pond by Eagle fire department, not people unwisely urging each other to ‘go get him’ (video)
EDWARDS — You don’t want to die as a Darwin Award, and that’s why local firefighters are happy to report that the dog was the only creature they rescued from the Freedom Park pond.
About 1:45 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 11, Eagle River Fire Protection District crews responded to a report that a dog had fallen through the ice at Freedom Park in Edwards.
A firefighter in a dry suit rescued the unhappy pup, which appeared to suffer no ill effects from his adventure.
But in the moments before crews arrived, bystanders reported individuals urging others to “go get him,” a monumentally bad idea.
“If a pet owner attempts the rescue and also falls through the ice, the end result could be tragic,” said Tracy LeClair, community risk manager for the Eagle River Fire Protection District. “At the very least, it may delay the rescue of the dog because our priority will be to rescue the owner first.”
Dogs lack awareness when it comes to ice conditions, LeClair said.
When walking on or near ice, keep your pets on a leash. If a pet falls through the ice, then do not attempt a rescue yourself. Call 911 immediately, LeClair said.
“Well-meaning pet owners can too easily become rescue victims themselves when trying to assist their pets. You should always assume that if a pet falls through the ice and cannot get out, so will you,” LeClair said. “Always call 911, and don’t become the next victim.”
The water beneath ice is barely above freezing. If you fall in, then your body cannot maintain its core temperature.
“This directly affects your strength, mental capacity and the ability to get out,” LeClair said.
People who attempt a rescue frequently become victims when they fall through the ice, as well.
“If you do have to approach the hole as a last resort, then you should still not run or walk, but crawl, to minimize the impact of the weight,” LeClair said.
Throw a long object toward the victim, such as a pole, a rope, a tree limb or even a long scarf.
If you fall in, swim to the edge of the ice and use your elbows to lift yourself partially out of the water.
“Go to the edge of the ice where you came from, since it held your weight up until that point. The ice around the other edges might be weak,” LeClair said.
Move slowly and deliberately to conserve body heat, and move back to where you entered the water. Expect a progressive decrease in your strength and ability to move. Stay calm and use a whistle to attract help.
The best idea, though, is to stay off.
“If you don’t know that the ice is 100 percent safe, stay off,” LeClair said.
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Peter Arnold’s playing career ended after high school, but his time on the ice continues a few decades later. A longtime USA Hockey official and new Aspen resident, Arnold is searching for the next generation of hockey referees among the youth ranks here in the Roaring Fork Valley.