The morning always begins with coffee, a quick "hello" and classroom time. Ropes, knots, rescue technique and hand signals are taught, and after each segment first responders have the opportunity to test what they have learned. Instructor Veronica Mard observes and steps in when any of the students have difficulty. It's a friendly, open environment where no question is "stupid".
Throughout the morning Veronica's partner, Instructor Phil Gilmore adds to the presentation with useful advice and comments, in between tinkering with the equipment needed for the training. The sound of a chainsaw is always heard sometime during class.
After a quick break, the rest of the afternoon is filled with cold water survival suits and putting classroom skills to work. This year was a little different because of the extremely cold temperatures dipping below zero. Precautions were taken to ensure safety and caution was echoed before the practical began.
Soon after gearing up and the evolutions started we were greeted by ABC40’s Brittany Decker. With a big smile, she asked if she could experience the training by donning a cold water suit and getting into the water. Later she would be the rescuer and rescuee, capturing everything with her cameraman and GoPro cameras.
I thought this was such a great idea. You don't know what a first responder goes through or what it feels like unless you walk a mile in their shoes, but in this case a Mustang suit. Brittany took on the challenge and we applaud her for that.
On the same note... wouldn't it be great to extend this "experience" to local and state government officials, whether it be participating at local burnhouse or dipping into a cold ice covered lake. Put the gear on, do the job and let the politicians decide for themselves what is important when it comes to staffing and funding.
The day ended with a warm rehab, hot food, good conversation and a group photo. For us, it's truly the best part. It's always a time when spirits are high, everyone is proud and that wonderful feeling of teamwork that camaraderie brings.
- Emergency Crews Perform Mock Ice Rescue - WGGB.com
- FULL IMAGE GALLERY | Conway, MA Joint Ice Rescue Training - FIREGROUND360°