It is a scene you never want to experience.
"When you fall through the ice, immediately you almost go into shock. just the sudden rush of how cold it is, you become immobilized, and you gasp for breath," Rush Fire Department member Vern Wandersleben said.
If you fall through the ice in Rush these firefighters could be the difference between life and death. I had the opportunity to get a first-hand look at exactly what goes into an ice rescue: starting with a lot of manpower.
"The simple one person rescue, you're probably talking about a dozen people to do it the safe way," Rush Fire District Chief Jim Bucci said.
From the rescuers in the water to those on shore, to those ready to tend the victim once safely out of the water. It all starts with a 16-hour training course to get certified.
"That's certified - 16 hour class, 8 hours in the classroom, 8 hours hands on, then you're certified. however certified and experienced are two different things," he said.
Bucci says it takes years of experience to perfect a water rescue.
"In our department as well as our battalion, in my opinion we have reached that milestone where we are not perfect, but we have definitely got the resources, the skilled and trained people to be effective with rescues," he said.
The district started their water rescue program in the mid 90s.
"We've grown and we've worked as a battalion together. When money was tight, one department would get suits, another department would get a boat. the other department would get boats and we started working as a battallion together, and since we've done that since 1996, most departments have saved up enough money so all the departments have their own equipment now," Buuci said.
The Rush Fire District has several volunteers certified and ready to save a life. With the hundreds of lakes, ponds and streams in the area, every training rescue like this one may be the key to saving a life.