Photos: Firefighter Ice and Water Rescue Training

Here are some photos of ice rescue training held recently at the Albion fire station. The AFD has a variety of equipment for water rescue, including a boat and inflatable rescue boats, flotation devices, and ice rescue suits that help insulate the rescuer.

Ice and water rescue training includes classroom sessions, practice in donning and using the equipment, and finally live training outside on the ice and in the water.

Please use extreme caution if going on the ice, especially in areas of springs and flowing water, in warm weather, and other times when the ice might be thin.

In a lake area, you want to have boats. We have the big boat--it's not really all that big. On top of it for easy transport is the inflatable boat, for difficult to access areas like shallow water and swamps. We also have a "banana" boat, for ice rescues--it can go in the water or be slid across the ice, and has an opening front and back for pulling victims in.

Ice rescue suits keep the rescuer (relatively) warm and (mostly) dry while they go out onto the ice, tethered by rope to a shore crew. As with most firefighter duties, for every one who goes into harm's way there are usually a half dozen or more working backup jobs.

At least four suits are necessary for an ice rescue: Two for the rescue crew, and two for the backup crew. Off behind them you can see a wheel of our antique hose reel, which the AFD put into service around 1900. (Yes, there's a photo of it in Smoky Days and Sleepless Nights.)

Luckily, the ice rescue suits are easy to put on and very comfortable. Hah! I'm totally lying. Assisting in getting them on is as much of a skill as actually wearing them.

More of our ice and water rescue equipment. You could climb a mountain and dive on the Titanic in this stuff. 

And more equipment, of course, requires more practice.

Practice, even with the basics. 


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