Berkeley Heights Firefighters Receive Special Training on Ice and Cold Water Rescues
Wednesday, March 6, 2013 • 5:21pm
BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - With the danger of cold water rescues always present during the winter, this past weekend, members of the Berkeley Heights Fire Department received special training on how to rescue victims from cold water and ice.
Stirling Fire Company hosted the class, and Team Lifeguard Systems out of Shokan New York instructed.
On the first day, members were taught the dangers of ice and cold water rescue, including how to treat victims suffering from immersion hypothermia and how to safely re-warm victims.
The second day included stations that where set up at Stirling Lake utilizing a fire hose filled with air to simulate ice. Members put on special suits to protect rescuers from cold water and utilized the type of equipment the fire department hopes to purchase soon.
Fire officials say with this training, they will be prepared with the right equipment, procedures, mutual aid communications, and contingency plans, which can make the difference between life and death on the part of both victim and rescuer.
Since Hurricane Irene the Berkeley Heights Fire Dept has been involved in five water rescues, including a recent ice rescue in which two victims were pulled from the Passaic River.
Long Hill First Aid Squad was on scene throughout the second day, assisting the firefighters with re-warming and monitoring vital signs.
Cold water carries heat away from the body 25 times faster than air of the same temperature, experts say. It is important that anyone attempting a ice or cold water rescue understands the dangers involved. Often rescuers become victims themselves only adding to the emergency.