This past Saturday, firefighters from the Hastings station honed their rescue skills along the icy edges of Lake Rebecca in Jaycee Park. The annual visit is part of the cold water rescue training. .Chief Mike Schutt stated that every firefighter will have the training to keep all members up to date with protocol to be ready if needed.With the unseasonably warm weather, the ice is becoming dangerously thin not only on small lakes, but on quarry ponds, creeks, streams and rivers. Because of currents and lack of snow cover the thickness can vary in depth in just a few feet. For safety, it is best to stay off the ice all together. Chief Schutt explains that rescues can also be needed when those on the water in fishing boats fail to add a PFD, personal floatation device to their wardrobe. With water temperatures just a few degrees about freezing a stumble that lands you in the water could be deadly. The instinct to gasp due to the shock of going into the icy water, can render even the best of swimmers unable to stay afloat. Children of every age should be closely monitored and warned not to wander near the ice without adult supervision. Schutt also notes that animals drawn to the water can find themselves unable to escape falling through thin spots. He advises keeping your pet on a leash to prevent them from venturing out onto the ice. Photos of the training can be found on the KDWA Facebook and website.