Ice Training for First Responders and Safety Tips
By TheNevadaGlobeStaff, December 20, 2022 7:27 am
RENO, Nev. (775 Times, NV Globe) – Truckee Meadows Fire & Rescue and the Reno Fire Department both staged ice rescue drills today to practice helping persons who fall through the ice.
According to officials, our region is not generally a spot where ice freezes all the way through.
They argue we don’t have a cold northern climate with solid and consistent ice in the winter.
The ice fluctuates from day to day, so even if it appears to be stable, going out onto it is not a smart idea. “The ice is usually thin and dangerous in this region,” says Captain Ben Kleinbach of Truckee Meadows Fire and Rescue, “and we just want to make sure that people give it the respect that it deserves and stay well away from it.”
According to officials, the ice on our area’s ponds and lakes can be quite fragile. Sometimes it’s difficult to determine where the water begins and the ice thins.
“If it looked icy, that didn’t mean it was safe to walk on, so I never walked on any ice as a kid. Not like if I’m in Minnesota… but even then, if I lived in Minnesota, I wouldn’t want to walk on any ice unless I saw a truck drive on it first,” says Paul Untalan, a visitor from Northern California.
Rescuers describe circumstances in which the ice is covered by snow and people don’t realize there’s a pond beneath until they fall in, giving little time to think about how to get out of a frigid, perhaps life-threatening situation.
Captain Kleinbach offers some safety advice: “Number one thing to do is try and keep your head above water, try and save your energy, reserve that energy, and do your best to keep treading water as much as you can.” Untalan adds, “This kind of water, it wouldn’t take long before you get hypothermic and you’d be seeking some medical attention pretty quick.”
“The land will normally undulate and rise and fall and those are the safer spots to be,” says Captain Kleinbach. “Often times the wind will sweep the snow off the ice too and you can see clean ice and you’ll want to keep away from it.”
If you observe an animal or someone fall through the ice, contact 911 right away.
Untalan says “Save yourself time and the inconvenience of finding yourself in the ER possibly with hypothermia and don’t go in cold water that looks iced over but may not be.” If you are going out by yourself officials also say to let people know where you’re going just in case you get into trouble and responders will be able to find and help you.
Remember that your body will begin to shut down after ten minutes in the frigid water, and hypothermia will set in within the first hour.
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