EGFD Uses Ice on Cove for Rescue Practice

Firefighter Steve McKeon heads out on the “Rescue Sled” – he’s attached by a rope to the shore.

By Elizabeth F. McNamara

The Fire Department conducted an ice rescue drill Wednesday on Greenwich Cove, using the weather conditions that happen to be visiting us as a perfect practice opportunity.

Capt. Thomas Mears said all the platoons practice ice drills each year. So far this year, there has been no actual ice rescue call but Mears said at some point during the winter there’s usually a rescue.

Chief Christopher Olsen had never seen the Rescue Sled (see photos) in action, but got to on Wednesday.

In the drill, a firefighter will don a dry suit and go out onto the ice and into the water. From the shore, a firefighter will use the

Firefighter Kevin King poses as a victim (don’t worry, he’s wearing a dry suit) in need of rescue.

Rescue Sled to travel over both ice and open water to reach the person in distress. The person will be pulled onto the sled and then firefighters on shore will pull the sled back to land and safety.

Mears explained why the EGFD will venture out onto the ice to rescue an animal, such as a dog that’s wandered away from an owner during a walk.

“When someone calls about an animal on the ice it’s only a matter of time before a citizen will try to go out to try to save it,” he said. “And then we end up with a disaster.”

Firefighter McKeon on the Rescue Sled.

So, before that can happen, Mears said, EGFD will do what it can to rescue the animal.

Mears said the department had been busy in recent days, mainly because of the very cold weather.

“We are getting burst pipes everywhere,” he said. “Don’t worry about your bills – just turn up your heat.”

Temperatures are expected to drop again this weekend.

 

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