Firefighters hit the ice for rescue training

 Firefighters hit the ice for rescue training

Firefighters hit the ice for rescue training

When people think of firefighters, images of brave professionals racing into burning buildings and persevering through high temperatures may cross their minds. While this is certainly true of firefighters, their services are sometimes needed in very frigid locations as well, such as icy bodies of water.

For this reason, it is not uncommon to see rescue workers participating in firefighter rescue training on icy ponds and lakes during the winter, as they never know when they will need to respond to a call at one of these locations. Here are two examples of how firefighters are preparing for these scenarios:

Iowa firefighters learn about the dangers of hypothermia
If parts of a pond or lake have iced over, it is likely the water below is quite cold. Should anybody accidentally fall into frigid water, hypothermia could strike very quickly – even on warmer days. This is what firefighters recently learned at a training session in Ottumwa, Iowa, the Ottumwa Courier reported.

“Even if the water temperature is 90 degrees, that’s still below your body’s temperature of 98.6 degrees,” Captain Pat Short told the news source.

In addition to learning about the threat posed by hypothermia, firefighters were taught how to use specific hand signals during icy rescues. For example, when a professional is in the water making a rescue, the firefighters on shore need to wait for this individual to tap his or her head. This simple signal means it is time to start pulling his or her rope to safety.

Different bodies of water mean different rescue scenarios in Massachusetts
Firefighters from Massachusetts’ Auburn Fire Department also took advantage of winter conditions and held their annual pond rescue training session, New England Cable News reported. Those who participated in this session assumed the roles of victims and rescuers as they visited the pond next to their fire station.

For firefighters, this type of firefighter rescue training is essential, as every body of water is different. Ice is very unpredictable, and no two ponds freeze alike.

“If you’re not familiar with it, you may not know where the currents are and that’s where it’s going to freeze the least,” Captain Glenn Johnson of the Auburn Fire Department told the news outlet.

Ultimately, these two examples prove just how vital firefighter training for icy rescues is – especially in areas that are known to have frigid winters.

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