EDWARDS, Colo. (CBS4) — A woman walking her dog around a pond fell through the ice while trying to rescue the dog, but bystanders used a rope attached to a throw bag to rescue her.
The throw bag “rescue station” is permanently stored in a box near the water.
Two people used the throw bag and rope to pull her ashore Friday while a third person called 9-1-1.
Eagle River Fire Protection District crews evaluated the shivering woman shortly after her rescue.
Her dog managed to get itself out.
A spokesperson with the fire department said the rescue station was specifically placed at Freedom Park because of the history of people falling through the ice there.
“We worked with the County to get a station added a couple of years ago,” ERFPD’s Tracy LeClair said, “due to the frequency in which we respond to these types of calls at this location. It was one of several options we evaluated. Our main concern was whether the throw bag might get stolen; so far, it’s been in place for close to two years without being ‘misplaced.'”
The average length of throw bag rope, LeClair said, is 75 feet. That was enough to easily reach the center of the Freedom Park pond.
“This particular pond is aerated in the center, so there are sections that never completely freeze over and the ice around these sections is very thin,” LeClair said.
While acknowledging this particular success, LeClair stressed the best approach is to not put oneself in a dangerous position in the first place. This includes keeping pets on leashes and not following animals – whether they need rescue or not – onto the ice.
“You should always assume that if a pet falls through the ice, so will you,” explained LeClair, Community Risk Manager for ERFPD. “If a pet owner attempts a rescue and also falls through the ice, the end result could be tragic for both pet and owner. At the very least, it may delay the rescue of your pet because our priority will be to rescue the owner first.”
In leiu of a throw bag and rope, LeClair said a long item like a pole or tree limb can greatly assist a person or animal in need of rescue. But standing on shore is where anyone without a wet suit and training should remain.