NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — “Don’t risk your life for a selfie on the ice” – that is the message the New York City Commissioner of Parks and Recreation shared Tuesday at an ice rescue training session.
As CBS2’s Elise Finch reported, park patrol officers brushed up Tuesday on what it takes to save someone who gets stuck on or in a frozen lake or pond.
The frozen ponds in the city’s parks are gorgeous, but they can also be dangerous. Last winter, two teens in search of a cool selfie nearly died after falling through the ice in Central Park.
Almost every year, a skater or curious walker needs to be rescued from ice they thought was frozen solid.
“Think about the worst case scenario in that situation, because that could actually happen,” said Megan Guerrido of NYC Parks Enforcement Patrol, “and that’s the worst thing. You don’t want to lose your life because you saw something so pretty that looked so tempting.”
Guerrido is one of the city’s first responders for ice rescues. The Parks Department held its annual training Tuesday at Lasker Ice Rink.
Officers used throw bags, life rings, and ladders to practice reaching and rescuing parkgoers in distress.
“We’re training about 30 of our park enforcement officers — some for the very first time, new recruits — and some that have taken this course over many years,” said Michael Dockett of the Parks Department. “But every year we do a refresher. Hopefully, we won’t have to put into action things we’re using today, but if they do come across a victim in the water, we want them to prepare.”
There are ice rescue ladders along the perimeter of all of the lakes and ponds in the city park system. But officials say the safest thing you can do is stay off the ice so they don’t have to use them.
“Too often, water looks like it’s frozen solid, but it’s not,” said Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver. “Never, and I repeat never, go on frozen waters unless clearly marked with official signs.”
“My own dog ran out on the ice and I had to really hold myself back from following, because it’s scary to see,” said Rachel Daykin of Harlem.
“People that don’t use good judgment will continue not to use good judgment,” another woman said.
That is why the officers will continue to train and work with firefighters, EMS and police to be ready for the next ice rescue.
Officials said if you see someone fall through the ice, do not attempt a rescue by yourself. Call 911 and make sure you give them your exact location in the park, and then let the victim know help is on the way.