Fire and Ice
“Their sacrifice was a noble one, but we want to be prepared.”
Keystone Hook and Ladder Volunteer Company Fire Chief Jamie Brelsford said recent ice rescue training hit home for 16 firefighters engaged in a practical training session the same day two men died while during the rescue of a mother and a five-year-old girl who fell through ice on a pond in Dalton, Luzerne County.
The Feb. 21, session in Muncy Creek Township at Kuhns Pond on River Road was the second half of a 16-hour course on ice rescue skills and techniques to save people who may have fallen through the ice.
“It is another step in the continuing education progress for water rescue team,” said Brelsford, who had nine firefighters take part in the certification class offered by the Pennsylvania Water Rescue Instructors Association.
A hole was cut through the ice and participants took turns being the victim as well as rescuers. Brelsford chuckled that it was not as bad as one might think; “We had on gear, including dry suits used for ice rescue.”
The first eight hours of the training was held in the classroom, watching video of actual rescues and learning about tools and protective equipment as well as procedures.
“People think there would be a lot of common sense involved, but training helps as well,” said Brelsford, adding that ice rescue is extremely dangerous. It is not only because of the cold, but also the many factory that affect conditions of ice.
In addition of being proud of the new certification his crew has earned, Brelsford was also grateful to the landowner who allowed the class access to the pond and the property needed to gain this valuable training.
Keystone Hook and Ladder is always looking for men and women who wish to volunteer at all levels of department business from administrative duties to responders to webmasters. Brelsford said potential volunteers are welcome to stop by the station during the Monday evening training sessions or call 570-546-3000.