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Ice rescue training held by Nashville Office of Emergency Management

OEM holds ice rescue training on Sevier Lake in Shelby Park (WZTV).

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Water rescues happen year round for Nashville Office of Emergency Management, but something Special Operations Captain Mike Russell, and other rescuers, aren't used to is trying to save a life on the ice.

Capt. Russell says in 1984, "A young boy actually fell through the ice on Percy Priest Lake while chasing a golf ball."

It's rare for Nashville he says, but Davidson and Sumner County crews aren't taking any chances when it comes to being prepared.

Capt. Russell says, " In the rescue world we have a saying: the things we do the least of are the things we need to train the most of to be able to keep our skills sharp."

On Saturday morning, OEM used the cold snap to stay on track by getting on the Shelby Park ice.

Capt. David Crane says "We're taking advantage and coming out and doing a refresher for ice rescue skills. "

OEM's Capt. Crane is helping lead the real world opportunity. The group is familiarizing the dive team with resources and past training.

Capt. David Crane says, Most everybody we've got works Monday through Friday. So not only did they come out to train, they came out on a very cold, cold Saturday morning. I was impressed with it, very impressed. These people got a lot of heart and a lot of skills that they like to use."

Box 55's, Mike Budai says, "About 95 percent of everybody you see out here today braving the cold, is all volunteer and the sole purpose is to help the community. "

Box 55 is a non-profit that provides volunteer teams at every major emergency scene to provide relief for responders.

"It could be blankets, it could be drinks..." he explains.

Today, they're providing much needed warmth. As participants tested the waters, everybody on scene is certified.

According to Capt. Crane, "So we're not putting anybody that is not trained on the ice, because we know there is a pretty good chance that they'll end up in the water. Even we didn't know the thickness of this ice. It was thinner in some spots than what we anticipated. That's what we see generally. Kids get curious, water is enticing to everybody and they're looking at the fun side and wanting to play, not realizing that it's a very dangerous, hazardous environment and it can turn ugly very very quickly."

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