Personnel from Blair Township Emergency Services along with the U.S. Coast Guard Air Station in Traverse City, Grand Traverse 911, Green Lake Township Emergency Services and Long Lake Fire Rescue went through ice rescue training Wednesday morning.
Blair’s Fire Chief, Bill Parker, says “training is really important this year. The weather has been different. So, we’ve had bad ice and then good ice and bad ice and so, we never know when we can be called for an ice rescue. And so, we’re just making sure we’re up on our skills and techniques to be able to help someone.”
The exercise they went through for this training was how to rescue a victim in the water. The Coast Guard’s role was to hoist the pretend victim into their helicopter with the help from the first responders in the water. The gear they use plays a key role in being able to complete a rescue.
Parker says they “wear ice rescue suits or commander suits, which has thermal protection, plus also buoyancy in the water to protect us from the cold water and them being in the water also.”
And there are some things you can do to avoid needing to be rescued, Parker tells us “you never know with the weather getting better when the ice is going to be not safe.” He says to make sure somebody knows where you are at if you do go out on the ice and its best to be in pairs, so if something happens the other can call for help if its needed.