Photos and article by Erica Burt
Walking on thin ice is normally a big problem for the average person, but for members of the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District, it was a perfect training opportunity. Last winter, the TLMFPD conducted an ice rescue training, a hands-on rescue simulation, over the course of three weeks both indoors in a classroom and outside on Monument Lake.
This was a crucial training exercise for first responders. Each station and shift had an opportunity to put on the neon ice rescue suits and hit the ice for some intense training. Whether they were rescuing a dummy or a fellow crew member, they treated each run as if it were a real emergency. The drills demonstrated the skills of speed and selflessness needed as first responders ran and jumped into the icy, cold lake to successfully rescue a victim. Crews ran multiple drills using different methods. Sometimes they used a rope and looped it around the person or dummy in distress. Other times they used a padded board to make the rescue go faster. People often give little thought to the importance and benefit this kind of training has in an emergency, but its application can be the difference between life or death for someone who has fallen through the ice. With crews from all three Tri- Lakes Stations and visiting crews from Donald Wescott participating in this ice rescue training, the community is in great hands.
It was a wonderful chance to watch first responders train and learn another incredible, life-changing rescue tactic. It also set a good example and raised awareness of the importance for everyone to exercise extreme caution around ice on lakes, ponds, and other bodies of water. Thin ice won’t be an issue for the dedicated, hardworking Tri-Lakes first responders, but it is better to not put their skills to the test. Please use caution every winter when you’re around water and thin ice.