NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – New York Police Department officers are honing their ice rescue techniques, practicing ways to get a lifeline out to people who have fallen through into freezing water.

“As cops you see someone in trouble, you’re going to run to the danger,” said Detective William Devine. “Problem is, you’re going to become part of the danger. Put the lifejackets on if you have the rescue rings, use the life rings, throw to the person. ‘Throw, don’t go.’”

That’s the message the NYPD’s Harbor Unit and Scuba Team are teaching police in all five boroughs, reports CBS2’s Natalie Duddridge.

Since uniformed officers are often the first to the scene before the specialized units arrive, every second counts.

“Very crucial hypothermia can come in in just a few minutes depending on the person,” said Harbor Unit officer Diana Balioni. “That can be less or more 10 minutes in water like this you’re going to deal with long term effects.”

Last year an 11-year old boy died falling through an icy pond in Queens while trying to help his friend.

In 2017, six children in search of a cool selfie nearly died when they went through the ice in Central Park, followed by three more teens the following month.

Police especially warn parents with kids or dogs to watch out.

“If he ran out maybe I would have instinct to rescue him,” said dog walker Yvonne Vavra.

If you witness someone go through the ice, police say people should call 911 first and then, if possible, use ice rescue ladders located along the perimeter of all parks and ponds in the city.