The ice is getting thin, but the RAFD now has equipment in case someone falls through (VIDEO)

Firefighter Ryan Krause grasps a rescue board as he is helped by Lt. John Hollatz during a training exercise utilizing the new water rescue suits

The ice on Ripon’s Mill Pond may still look sturdy, but with temperatures swelling above 50 degrees this week, local emergency officials know better.

“I just saw the other day guys ice fishing on the pond, a woman walking her dog on the pond,” said Tim Saul, fire chief with the Ripon Area Fire District (RAFD). “The potential is there [for something to go wrong]. People need to be warned of thin ice with the warm weather, and need to take extra caution not to be around the ice.”

In fact, a truck broke through the ice on Green Lake near Beyer’s Cove Tuesday. Fortunately, it was only in a foot of water at the time.

The silver lining? If the worst does occur — and someone goes through the ice — the RAFD has the equipment to save someone’s life, possibly for the first time ever.

The department recently was the recipient of about $1,700 worth of ice-rescue equipment, with having to spend maybe a few hundred toward the new initiative.

Equipment donated to the RAFD include two water-rescue suits from another department and four PFDs (life jackets) by Green Lake Power Sports/Action Marina.

Coupled with training a dozen firefighters recently took, Ripon now is ready to help save those who fall through the ice on the city’s Mill Pond.

“With the week of warm weather we’re going to have, the ice thins so quickly — this is the perfect time that we’re ready for this,” Saul said.

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