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Ice Water Rescue Training - Irons Lane, Clarksville
Sunday, January 14, 2007

The Millville Volunteer Fire Company participated in a joint training activity on ice water rescue on January 13 & 14 with the Ocean View Police Department, and the following fire departments: Bethany Beach, Christiana, and Salisbury. Saturday the 13th was spent on classroom instruction, with Sunday the 14th being a hands-on practice in a local pond off of Irons Lane in Clarksville. Chief Ken McLaughlin of the Ocean View Police Department was responsible for organizing the ice water rescue training. The training instructed all participants on a Level 1 ice rescue, which covers the rescuing of an individual within 400 to 500 feet from shore. In the training all participants learned the procedures and techniques of putting on the ice rescue suit and personal harness; placing the sling, or rescue tube, on a victim; how to properly approach the victim; maintaining constant communication with the victim to aid in the rescue process; using the rescue board, which floats, slides on ice, and helps carry/support the victim; getting the victim on the rescue board; keeping the victim on the rescue board; hand signaling the team on shore; and the proper technique and teamwork to use for pulling the victim and rescuer to shore. Instructor Andrea Zaferes stated that drowning is the second most common cause of accidental deaths for children in the United States, and the third most common for adults. Ms. Zaferes emphasized that an individual should never go on ice on a body of water without wearing a personal floatation device for safety's sake. She stated that if an individual ever witnesses someone falling through the ice to please do the following: · Mark the ground where you were standing, and then look up to site a point on the opposite shore to serve as a reference line for the rescuers. If there is no opposite shore, make a second mark on the ground to create the site line. · Once 911 has been called, don't go out on the ice to try to rescue the person; wait for trained personnel. · Ask the victim his/her name and was anyone else with him/her. · Do communicate with the victim. Tell the individual to hold onto the ice, keep his/her face down on the ice, paddle their feet, and try to pull him/herself up on the ice. · If that doesn't get the victim on the ice, tell the victim to relax, hold onto the ice and place his/her head on his/her hands. This technique will keep the victim on the ice if he/she goes unconscious. If the victim keeps his/her head up and goes unconscious, the victim will slide back into the water. · Think if there is anything around you can slide out to the victim to help. The victim can stick a screwdriver or tire iron in the ice to help pull him/herself out. Safety belts cut from an automobile can be used, as well as a back seat. A rope could be thrown to the victim too. · Keep talking to the victim using his/her name until help arrives. You may have to be forceful in your encouragement for the victim to hold on and not give up. The members of the Millville Volunteer Fire Company hope everyone has a safe winter. A special thanks goes out to Chief Ken McLaughlin of the Ocean View Police Department for arranging the ice water rescue training. "DEDICATED VOLUNTEERS PROUDLY SERVING OUR COMMUNITY"

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