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Rescuers Hone Their Ice Rescue Skills - GFD - 02/18/2008


 

Rescuers Hone Their Ice Rescue Skills

Click here to see the gallery of pictures taken throughout the day.

ASHFIELD - It's a great day for snowmobiling but after a long day on the trails you decide to take a shortcut across the lake to get home.  Without warning, the ice beneath you gives way and both you and your snowmobile fall in.  What do you do now?

That's the scenario that members of the Ashfield, Chesterfield, Cummington, Goshen, Plainfield and Williamsburg fire departments considered during their daylong training session in Ashfield on Sunday. 

Veronica Mard

Veronica Mard of the Northfield Dive Team walks through the fine art of tying knots.

Gumby suits

Veronica Mard illustrates the proper technique of tying off rescuers prior to the actual drill.

Ice core samples

The ice on Ashfield Lake was between 28 and 30 inches thick.  Notice the various layers of the ice.  The bottom layer (to the left of the blocks) is the clearest and newest ice to form.  The layers represent the impact of storms and freeze thaw patterns of this years winter. 

Firefighter Bill Connell

Goshen firefighter Bill Connell secures a life safety rope around Chris Goshea from the Northfield Dive Team prior to giving the signal to the shore support to pull.

Fire Chief Sue Labrie

Goshen fire chief Sue Labrie works to secure a life safety rope around Chris Goshea from the Northfield Dive Team while being coached by Veronica Ball who can be seen in the background.

Goshen's Rapid Deployment Craft

Goshen's newly acquired Rapid Deployment Craft (RDC) was put in service for the first time.  This boat, which fits into a carrying bag, was inflated in 45 seconds with air from an SCBA bottle.  The department purchased the boat, 2 survival suits, several hundred feet of rope and necessary rigging after receiving a donation from a seasonal resident at Hammond Pond.

Ashfield's Ice Rescue Sled

Plainfield's Rescue Alive is a stable work platform for ice and water rescues. The weight distribution benefit of the unit allows a rescuer to traverse the surface of the ice or water to reach a victim. The rescuer always works above the victim from a position of control during the approach, during the rescue, and while being pulled back to shore. At no time is the rescuer required to enter the water or leave the safety of the platform during a rescue.  Victims are secured in a harness that slides along the guardrails to avoid rough handling while, at the same time, avoiding heavy lifting for the rescuer.

Lt. Dustin Culver

Goshen Lieutenant Dustin Culver gives two thumbs up while waiting to be rescued.  The Mustang Ice Commander he is wearing is the suit of choice for Search and Rescue teams, Fire Departments, and all Ice Rescue professionals. Each suit is completely waterproof with a water tight hood, integrated gloves with adjustable wrist straps, and attached boots. Most importantly, the flotation and insulation performance of Mustang AirSoft™ foam allows users to immerse themselves for long periods of time in icy cold water and maintain mental and physical capabilities.  Each Ice Commander has an integrated chest harness for attachment to tether lines, ice awl pockets for storage, rubber gloves, reinforced knees and non-slip rubber soles on the attached boots. As well, each suit is 45% lighter than other rescue suits as it is made in a high visibility welded nylon shell.  The universally sized cold water and ice rescue suit can be donned quickly and offers versatility to respond to different rescue scenarios.

(Sunday, February 17, 2008)