Reno Fire Department Practices Ice Rescues
The Reno Fire Department's Water Entry Team spent the entire afternoon on Tuesday training for ice rescues.
Recent changes in the weather have the Reno Fire Department on edge about the danger of people falling into frozen ponds or other bodies of water. The repeated pattern of snow and cold followed by warm days has created a risky situation, an icy white frost that has formed over the ice.
“The white ice is really weak. Even though this looks like its 4 inches thick, the amount of strong ice is only about 2 inches thick,” said Reno Fire Department Water Entry Team Director Kevin Joell.
The Reno Fire Department's Water Entry Team spent the entire afternoon on Tuesday, training for ice rescues. “Any time we have this cold weather, the ice starts to form. There is potential for a child, an animal, even an adult to venture out onto the ice. They think that it looks safer than it is, and then they fall through the ice. The public needs to understand if you fall through the ice it is a life or death situation,” said Joell.
Once you are submerged within water you feel the cold within seconds. After one minute you start losing your breath. Ten minutes later your muscles are affected, and in an hour you will face hypothermia. “If you see someone fall through the ice, you should first of all call 911. Do not try to go out on the ice to attempt a rescue. You can try a shore based rescue. If you can throw a rope from a safe location on shore, please do that. Extend a ladder, pole, or branch for them to hang on to from shore. Then try to pull them from shore. But if they venture out onto the ice, then the chance of the ice breaking and them ending up in the water is very high. And then we might be looking at 2 fatalities,” said Joell. The Reno Fire Department’s vehicles have been outfitted to perform ice rescues, including an exposure suit and a rescue rope. Water entry team members say they will continue training once a month to make sure they are ready, just in case.