Northwest suburban firefighters practice ice rescues
Although it may seem as if this winter will never end, it will -- and when it does, those frozen ponds, lakes and other bodies of water that people have been walking on, skating on, and fishing on will began to melt. And when that happens there is the potential for danger and tragedy.
As spring nears, the stability of the ice will decrease and even though the surface may look stable, there is a good chance that there is an unseen danger waiting for someone to take the wrong step. Area fire departments are preparing for the possibility of having to make a rescue if the need arises.
Buffalo Grove, Wheeling, Long Grove and Lincolnshire Riverwoods, members of the Combined Area Fire Training group, were out at their training facility recently practicing just in case they are called upon to make a rescue.
Donning cold water emersion suits every member of each department "rescued" a person from the water.
Once the ice starts to melt, the local water temperature will cause hypothermia to set in quickly, making self rescue almost impossible.
If you witness someone go through the ice call 911 immediately. Do not try to rescue them yourself by going in the water; another person in the water is only going to make matters worse.
Throw something to the person that floats or a rope or boat line. If there is a ladder or other object you can push out to them to grab on to, do that, but stay away from them. If the ice is already weak you can go through too and complicate the rescue.
If the person goes under, stay were you are and try to line up their location with a fixed object on shore so that you can relay that vital information to the first arriving crews to make it easier to locate the person. The quicker emergency personnel can get the person out, the better off that person will be.