The SLVFD logged a busy weekend by hosting Team Lifeguard Systems and bringing training to area rescue personnel in "Drown Proofing Firefighter Turn Out Gear", "Surface Ice Rescue", and the "Proper Use of the Thermal Recovery Capsule."
Ken McLaughlin, Dive Captain has logged many hours preparing for this weekend and believes the more we train, the safer we will be, and we will have a greater potential to make successful rescues when called upon to do so. The SLVFD responds to multiple water incidents each year. Quite often these incidents involve persons falling through the ice. At the SLVFD we strongly believe "NO ICE IS SAFE ICE"
Ice training is only part of the equation. Training started Friday night at the North Country Community College pool where firefighters experienced what it would be like to fall in water over their head wearing full turn out gear. Firefighters falling in the water can occur while fighting fires near the water as in a boat, boathouse, or pier fire. It can also happen by falling through a floor into a basement that has been filled with water.
It was once believed that falling in over your head with heavy firefighting gear almost always resulted in drowning. Instructor Butch Hendrick while working with the FDNY challenged the theory that firefighters would necessarily drown. He developed this training program by actually donning full turn out gear and jumping in. What he found was that if the firefighters were trained and remained calm the turnout gear can actually assist in buoyancy and a firefighter can survive the incident.
President & Founder of Lifeguard Systems, Butch has been teaching, developing rescue procedures and performing surface and subsurface water rescues for over 30 years in 15 countries. We encourage you to visit www.teamlgs.com to learn more about Team Life Guard Systems and Butch's story.
On Saturday morning Butch and his crew taught the classroom portion of the Surface Ice Rescue-Technician course. Saturday afternoon was hands on rehearsal at the firehouse of the skills that would be used in live training on Sunday. Saturday evening's class focused on the proper use of the "TRC". The Thermal Recovery Capsule is a device that looks quite similar to a sleeping bag however it is specially designed to warm a wet hypothermic patient while at the same time permitting access to the patient by emergency medical personnel.
Sunday morning, instructors cut holes in the ice on Lake Flower and rescuers donned surface ice rescue suits and entered the icy water. During the drill rescuers rotated as victims, line tenders, and rescuers. The act of maneuvering across thin ice and removing a hypothermic patient requires skill and repetitive practice. After a long cold morning the rescuers returned to the station for lunch, review, and final written examinations prior to receiving certification as Surface Ice Rescue Technicians.
We have said before that it takes a lot of training to run a department such as the SLVFD. The holiday season was no exception for us. In December SLVFD hosted NY State Accident Victim Extrication Training, and the NY State Haz-Mat-Operations refresher. In addition to this weekend's training January will see the SLVFD host the NY State Fire Police Course for firefighters from throughout Franklin and Essex Counties and SLVFD's regularly scheduled monthly in house fire school will include an in depth orientation on our new Ladder-144.
The SLVFD is very grateful for the hours of training donated by our volunteers. Their contribution of time goes a long way to keep this great community safe!!! We will keep you posted on future training as it happens.