The Lebanon Fire Department, along with other emergency responders braved icy waters and sub-freezing temperatures to perform cold water rescue training.

“We are out here on a 13 degree day working on our ice water training. We try to do this once a year,” said Lebanon Fire Department Lieutenant Sam Dougherty. “We do it to keep our skills up, like with any other fire fighting skills, but this is one that we try to during the cold weather times.”

“It’s definitely important to practice these skills, and how it will actually be in real life, because practicing it on an 80 degree day isn’t going to do anything for you,” added Lt. Dougherty. “You need to know that your hands are going to be cold, and that it is going to be tough to pull a rope, as well as make tactile decisions.”

“We really work on a the speed. The speed is very important because if someone falls through sub 32 degree water has maybe 15 minutes, and they can die in that 15 minutes depending on how cold it is. They will definitely start losing their motor functions and their mental clarity. So, by the time we get to someone, we know they are not going to pretty erratic, if they are conscious at all.”

“You don’t know how thick the ice is,” said Lt. Dougherty. “It can vary in thickness as you’re going out on the water. As we were training out here, the ice would be fine, then all of a sudden it would crack and we would fall in. You don’t realize it until it’s too late. Stay of the ice is my advice.”

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