MADISON, Ala. – The Madison Fire Department has a warning for the public: stay away from ice-covered bodies of water. "The cold weather season is not over. It's very likely it can be freezing again in the next couple of weeks," firefighter Ryan Ledford said.
Madison Fire and Rescue is urging everyone to stay off of the ice. "You see it on television or cartoons of people skating on frozen ponds. That's not reality," Ledford said.
Ledford said folks need to remember we live in the south and cold snaps don't last forever. He said just as fast as it froze over, it will thaw out at the same speed.
It wasn't long ago they saved a woman from a pond. She went in trying to save her dog. They were able to save her, but unfortunately, her dog died.
First responders said they are very lucky because they are well trained. "We train in swift water. We go up to Tennessee. We also have a swift water class in Tuscaloosa," firefighter Bobby Phillips said.
Ledford added they train in cold water. "We go in February or March whenever when we get a chance," Ledford explained.
Besides physical training, first responders have to be prepared mentally. "Whether it be in a smoke-filled environment, fast-moving water, or a car that is on fire and someone is trapped in it," Phillips said.
Phillips and Ledford experienced their first ice rescue together this year, and are prepared for the next one if it happens again.