VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — The recent warm weather we’ve been having may deceive some people into thinking the water is also warm.
So, if you plan on heading out to enjoy the waterways, fire officials want you to know that the water is freezing.
On Wednesday morning, Virginia Beach firefighters trained in that water to be better prepared for water rescues.
“A lot of people take that air temperature into consideration, and get on their paddleboards and kayaks without consideration the water temperature is 47 degrees,” said Battalion Chief Joshua Goyet.
Goyet says staying in the water too long can cause hypothermia and possibly death. Since they often respond to water rescues, they can’t always wait for trained marine teams to help pull victims because of time.
The battalion chief says while surfers may have some protection with water suits, those enjoying other leisure activities aren’t prepared.
“A lot of people show up wearing t-shirts or shirts, not the thermal protection that may happen if they end up in the water. Then, the water becomes a danger to them,” he said.
But it’s not just a danger to those stuck in the water.
Firefighters are also at risk.
Wednesday’s training helped them come up with different techniques where firefighters wouldn’t have to go in the water to pull victims out.
“It’s really important for our guys to understand that because the VBFD will respond to these types of emergences, and we will go in when it’s necessary. So it’s critical for our guys to know when it’s necessary,” Goyet said.