CCFD prepares for ice rescuePublished 10:22am Monday, January 6, 2014
The unpredictable temperatures that come with Michigan winters make ice conditions questionable for those who brave the elements in the snowy months. As such, it’s hard to predict when someone may need to be rescued from the icy waters of one of the many local lakes.
So firefighters from the Central Cass Fire Department (CCFD) took a swim in Stone Lake Saturday morning.
Using a chainsaw, the firemen opened up a 10-by-10 foot hole in the ice so they could practice the emergency ice rescue skills.
“Most of the firefighters on CCFD are certified ice rescue specialists and are more than willing to suit up and jump into the frigid water if an emergency were to arise,” Jesse Binns said. “The yellow and red suits the firefighters wear are specially designed for cold water rescues. They are very well insulated and allow the firefighters to enter the water for an extended period of time without getting cold.”
Contrary to popular belief, jumping into the water isn’t the first step in an ice rescue, according to Binns.
“Once the rescue personnel have attempted to assist the victim out of the water by tossing them a rescue line, or using a long pole to try and pull them out, the next step is to enter the water and get them out with a more hands-on approach,” he said. “When the rescue personnel enter the water, they use a rope system that is attached to them to assist with getting the victim out. The rescuer will attach a rope harness to the victim, just under their arms, and signal to the personnel on shore to begin pulling them to safety.”
Binns wants to remind people that falling into a frozen body of water is extremely dangerous.
“It only takes the human body approximately three minutes to lose dexterity and to become disoriented,” he said. “If you see someone fall through the ice, immediately call 911 for assistance. Entering onto the ice yourself to attempt the rescue could put yourself in extreme danger and we highly discourage anyone from doing so.”