Officials: Don't "Plunge" In

polar plungeVERMONT - With temperatures heating up, a new trend has been running rampant on social media - and it's being called the "Polar Plunge 2014."

This "Polar Plunge" isn't like the common, winter fundraiser event.

This Polar Plunge is a trend where a person nominates friends to complete the "challenge" - jumping into icy, freezing-cold water. Before taking the dip, they dare their friends - all while being caught on camera. The video capturing the dare and nominations and is then posted to social media.

College student Wendy Rodriguez took the plunge after being nominated by her brother. Keeping her word, she took a dip into Lake Willoughby late last week and posted the video online.

"I wanted to. I just wanted to prove my brother wrong, I had to, and I take a challenge very well," Rodriguez said.

Many other college students in the Northeast Kingdom are taking the plunge too, and officials are calling this a risky situation.

"It's not a matter of if somebody gets hurt, it's a matter if when people are going to get hurt,"  said Chief Marc Brown of the Sheffield-Wheelock Fire Department.

And someone getting hurt is Brown's biggest fear.

"I don't care if you're a good swimmer or what you wear, but when that cold water hits it's way different than turning a cold shower on or anything like that," he said.

There are other dangers that come with the plunge. You often can't see debris or the changing depths in fast moving rivers.

After taking the plunge Rodriguez said, "It felt like a bunch of nails just poking at me."

Even with the risk of hypothermia the plunges still continue.

"They're not just endangering their own lives, but so many when you fall in a river and you can't get back out or the current catches you. Usually the first responders are your local fire department and your EMS crews," Brown said.

Rodriguez took the challenge and then nominated others to join.

"Someone that I nominated jumped off a bridge. I was so surprised - it kind of did make me nervous, but it was also an individual I know that takes risks and knows better," Rodriguez said.

It's a risk officials are begging those considering it not to take.

"I'm all for a good time, but this is not one of those things that you want to try," said Brown.

Rescue crews have acknowledged that the risky behavior isn't exactly illegal, and that there's really not a lot they can do.

They hope that those who are considering to participate in the plunge take an extra second to think twice.