HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – While we did experience bitterly cold temperatures last week, local fire departments are reminding everyone it’s not safe to go out on the ice. 22News joined the Holyoke Fire Department Thursday as they trained staff to handle ice emergencies.

This is training the department tackles every year, noting that it’s important with the city’s canal system, reservoirs and ponds on the west side of Holyoke. Members of the Holyoke Fire Department suited up at Wycoff Country Club, getting prepared for winter ice rescues.

Members of the department use a special weight-distributing sled attached to ropes, that hold the firefighters standing on dry land to cross the frozen pond and practice rescuing people who fall through the ice.

“We’re not saying that the ice is safe to be on. We’ve been lucky enough to train on it this week but we don’t condone anyone being out on the ice, especially tomorrow. I believe it’s going to be up to 55 and sunny. I know all those ice fisherman out there love it, but we don’t want to have to go in and get you,” said Holyoke Fire Captain David Rex.

The Captain added that when responding to ice rescues, the department always hopes that it’s only one person that has fallen through, because most of the adults they rescue are people who head out on the ice to save an animal or another person.

If you do see someone on the ice in need of help, call 911 immediately and leave the rescue to the trained professionals.