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Seven firefighters and several trainers are on the ice at Fairy Lake this week learning, or sharpeni

Seven firefighters and several trainers are on the ice at Fairy Lake this week learning, or sharpening, their ice rescue skills. “Right now, we have deteriorating ice conditions,” Hugh Hennessey, Acton Firefighter, tells Acton UP, “which is the exact time when someone falls through the ice. So, we train when its the worst, so we are ready for the worst.” The teams will train through various scenarios using a variety of tools from self rescue to one and two pers

on rescues using equipment such as rope slings and boats. “For every one rescue person we put on the ice, we have to have one on the shore ready to rescue our own people.” Team members must be proficient swimmers, know all their rescue knots, and which tools and specialty gear to use and their limitations. Also important is identification of ice conditions, “sometimes the line of sight isn’t the best way to go.” Hennessey explains the 1:10:1 rule. When you fall through the ice you have:

  • about 1 minute to catch your breath,

  • followed by 10 minutes of meaningful movement before your muscles start to fail and

  • 1 hour before heavy duty hypothermia sets in.

Self rescue is a process of spreading your body weight out, using your elbows to army crawl and swim kicking to get some of your body weight out of the water and on to some ice. Once there, you roll away from the water. For video footage more information on cold water safety Hennessey recommends The fire veteran reminds residents “If your dog goes out there and crashes through the ice, if your dog goes through the ice you’re easily going to go through the ice. Call the fire department.” While training to provide public safety, this department is also participating in community engagement. Not only did they accommodate this interview, they were answering many questions from the public. Sarah Wilson and her sons, Isaak and Henry Lee, were just out for a bike ride when they spotted the Halton Firefighters training. “Some real life learning today” says Sarah, who’s boys also got a tour of the pump truck on scene. Isaak tells Acton UP his favourite part “was when we got to see all the gadgets.” The training started on Tuesday and will continue until Saturday.


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