On Tuesday February 21st, upwards of thirty firefighters from the Cold Spring Fire Company No. 1 and the North Highlands Engine Co. No.1 gathered at the North Highlands Headquarters on Fishkill Rd. for a joint training exercise focusing on cold water and ice rescues. Beginning with a powerpoint classroom presentation led by NHFD Chief Pat Scherer and 1st Lieutenant Barbra Vivenzio, the gathered firefighters were led through the “typical” stages of a possible ice rescue scenario. Topics ranged from the different types of ice found on our area’s wide range of water bodies – from pack ice on the river to the types that might be found on stagnant ponds and lakes, to the different types of ice that form depending on temperature, weather conditions, snow pack, etc. Lieutenant Vivenzio then took over and gave a brief overview of hypothermia and EMS response to a cold water rescue.
After the classroom, the firefighters utilized the NHFD appatus room as a “frozen lake” and simulated a patient that had fallen through ice. Due to the extremely mild winter this year, no ice is readily available on any of the area’s bodies of water. Instead, firefighters practiced rescue bag throws and evolutions of retrieving victims from thin ice, indoors, utilizing a little imagination.
The CSFC would like to remind residents to please stay off any ice that they may encounter, especially on the Hudson River. Water currents and tide changes make pack ice on the Hudson extremely unpredictable, and you may become stranded or entrapped without warning. The same warning goes for our area lakes, streams and ponds. Those that are deemed “safe” for ice fishing and/or skating will be posted as such (such as Fahnestock) – all others should be deemed off limits. This year with such a mild winter, very little ice formed. Moving forward, even if we encounter a cold spell any ice that forms will not be suitable for walking, fishing, skating.
In the event that you come across someone that has fallen through ice, or has become stranded in cold water – do not panic. Your very first action should be to call 911 and seek help. Do not enter the water or walk onto ice yourself, as you too may become a victim. Maintain a “line of sight” on the victim (line up the victim with a nearby landmark to give rescuers a guide to work from) and await emergency personnel.
*Interested in volunteering? Fill out an application, stop by on one of our drill nights (every Tuesday @ 7:30pm) or give us a call 265-9241