Does your department have a yearly ice rescue training?

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Nope, we are hardpressed to even see any ice. Let alone have iced up rivers or ponds. We just dont get it. We just see the melted version of it an sometimes in buckets worth. But then it turns sunny an we forget all about that wet, cold stuff. Nope No Ice Here.
If environmental conditions require, all Fire and Rescue personnel should be trained at the Ice Rescue Awareness level.

According to NFPA 1670 Standard for Technical Rescue, the Authority Having Jurisdiction must conduct a Threat Assessment to determine the community hazards and risks associated with ice and cold water. The AHJ must then determine the level of operational capability that may be required. And, they must then PLAN for the incident, TRAIN for the incident, and acquire the RESOURCES required to effectively and safely MANAGE the incident.

First Responders trained at this Level should also be trained in procedures to identify the approximate location of a victim once the victim has submerged below the surface, and they should also be capable of manning tether lines for operations/technician level personnel who venture out onto the ice or into the water for rescue or recovery operations. Awareness level personnel can also be trained and equipped to perform basic shore-based rescues like throwing a line or rescue bag to the victim, or extending an object or device from shore. However, to function in this capacity, First Responders must be equipped with basic rescue and personal protective equipment (PPE) and must be trained in its proper use.

First Responders at the Operations level must, obviously, meet the training and expectations of the Awareness level, and must be able to perform shore-based rescues as well as to assist Technician level personnel by assisting with the set-up and deployment of specialized rescue equipment, and by manning and directing shore-based operations and tether lines.

At the Technician level, personnel would have the additional responsibility of organizing and implementing the type of rescue or recovery operation necessary depending upon the physical and emotional condition of the victim, the equipment resources available, the location of the victim, and the personnel resources available. Technician level functions at ice and/or water rescue incidents must include the development and implementation of:

• Procedures for self-rescue unique to ice and/or water incidents;
• Procedures for reach, throw, row, and go technique rescues unique to ice or water rescue; and,
• Procedures for the use of watercraft or specialty equipment unique to ice and/or water rescue

Any department charged with the responsibility of responding to ice and cold water emergencies must provide the Personal Protective Equipment required; must establish pre-plans and SOPs, and must provide their personnel with the training required to safely and effectively respond to these types of incidents.

Our company, Lifesaving Resources Inc. (, develops Ice and Water Rescue training curriculums, and conducts Ice Rescue Technician Courses each winter at our Water and Ice Rescue Training Center in historic Harrisville, New Hampshire. During the winter of 2010, we trained over 100 Ice Rescue Technicians at our center with Fire, Rescue, EMS, and Law Enforcement personnel coming from Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Virginia. During past years, we've also had students from Norway, Greece, and Canada. But, we also conduct an annual Ice Rescue Train-the-Trainer Academy, as well as an annual Water Rescue Train-the-Trainer Academy. Currently, we have over 300 authorized instructors throughout the United States and parts of Canada, who currently train and certify several thousand First Responders annually.

The Lifesaving Resources' Water and Ice Rescue training programs meet and exceed NFPA 1670 Standard for Technical Rescue and our instructors represent First Responder Organizations from 29 states and Canada.

During the 2010 Ice Rescue Train-the-Trainer Academy, we graduated 18 new Instructors from 7 states, and our 2010 Water Rescue Train-the-Trainer Academy (May 20 - 23 at Keene State College in Keene, New Hampshire) promises to be our biggest and best Academy to date.

Meanwhile, be on the lookout for our next article on Ice and Water Rescue training that will be published in the April issue of Fire Chief magazine. Additional articles can be found on our website within the ISSUES IN SAFETY AND RESCUE SECTION at

For more information, access the Lifesaving Resources' website at

Gerald M. Dworkin, Consultant
Aquatics Safety & Water Rescue
P.O. Box 905
Harrisville, NH 03450
603.827.4139 •
Yes, and guess who found out one of the suits developed a leak....?
Yes. We train at least twice a season . Once on solid ice for a skills review and then later in the season when the ice is weak to simulate conditions during an actual incident.

the only ice issues we have where I live is whether or not the bucket filled with Corona's has enough to keep the bottles properly chilled... and talk about brain freeze, this is a very serious issue to consider when dealing with ice, and potential self-rescue... just a thought...

sorry you have to deal with larger pieces of ice than we do...

CaptainBusy...... Pacificos would look just as good in that bucket!

PS: we do ice rescue training.
Yep. It's hosted by DRI and they have a wonderful instructor in our area. Check out my facebook page and you'll see the video I post about a two months ago.
self rescue? or actually getting cold and dealing with extreme environments... or in other words, off duty pacifico's in ice or on duty yourself on the ice... :D

We do it at a minimum of once a year, sometimes every other year due to uncooperative weather. I will tell you the shrinkage factor is terrible if your suit has a leak! Stay safe!

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