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|Last Updated: Monday, November 05, 2012|
Ice Rescue Training
Ice rescues on fractured, broken or thin ice are very dangerous for first responders, and because of this it is imperative that rescuers have the proper training and equipment. Recently, the Los Angeles County Fire Department and the San Bernardino County Fire Department performed a joint ice rescue drill on Jackson Lake, near Wrightwood, California, a lake which has become known for its treacherous conditions.
Conditions on Lakes That Lead to Ice Rescue
Captain Jim Pearson, the Senior Training Officer for the San Bernardino County Fire Department explains, "Unlike some of the East Coast lakes, where you can drive cars on them and walk around quite safely, it's not advisable here. Unfortunately people ignore the warnings and signs and get into trouble. Oftentimes we've lost a lot of people, unfortunately here."
Los Angeles County Fire Department and San Bernardino Fire Department's Joint Response and Training
Jackson Lake is a joint-response area between the Los Angeles County Fire Department and the San Bernardino County Fire Department. The San Bernardino County Fire Department's Wrightwood Fire Station is located 15 minutes from the lake, whereas, Los Angeles County Fire Department's nearest crew is 30 minutes away. Thus, personnel from the San Bernardino County Fire Department are always first on scene, and the rescue equipment is stored at their station. However, both agencies must be trained on the ice rescue procedures for redundancy, and approximately 3/4 of the firefighters at this winter's drill were doing it for the first time.
Ice Rescue Equipment
The firefighters have the latest in ice rescue equipment, which was purchased last year using a generous donation from the Timberline Lion's Club in Wrightwood. The wet suits they wear are one piece, including a hood, gloves and boots. They are sealed so that they can be worn over the rescuers' clothing, and provide them with buoyancy and warmth. They also wear a personal flotation device, and a swift water helmet.
Importance of Ice Rescue Training
The joint drill was performed over three days so that all shifts of personnel from both fire departments could participate. The training was straightforward and something that all fire departments who make ice rescue responses should do regularly, as Captain Johnson says, "It's very easy. It's basically just putting on a wet suit, having someone assist you and going out in the water, listening to instruction from the guys that have been doing this for many years."
Author:Barbara Brooks - FDNNTV.com
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