The St. Marys Quarry is more than just Canada’s largest outdoor freshwater swimming pool. On Saturday, January 26, 2019, local firefighters used the Quarry to conduct ice rescue training and pull “victims” from a pre-cut opening in the water.
The exercise was an opportunity for firefighters to practice with their ice rescue equipment.
To prepare for the training, firefighters conducted theory and practical water-rescue training exercises to familiarize themselves with the rescue equipment and prepare for real-life emergencies.
According to Fire Chief Richard “Andy” Anderson, completing the ice rescue training exercise helped firefighters to:
Demonstrate the use of appropriate personal protective equipment and personal floatation devices that must be worn by all personnel participating in an ice rescue.
Assess the victim’s physical ability to participate in self-rescue.
Provide the necessary commands and guidance to the victim to engage in self-rescue.
Select the appropriate strategy (reach or throw) for ice rescue when the victim is not capable of self-rescue.
Demonstrate the safe, effective and efficient use of equipment available from their fire apparatus for both reaching and throwing ice rescue techniques.
Although ice rescues are relatively rare, they can happen, especially during mild weather conditions, Chief Anderson says. The Fire Department is reminding people to be safe by staying off the ice on local waterways this spring.