January 17th, 2021

Local rescuers take the icy plunge

By Lethbridge Herald on February 19, 2020.

Antony Smith splashes out of an area of open water cut into the ice during Lethbridge Fire and Emergency Services ice rescue training Wednesday at Henderson Lake. Herald photo by Ian Martens@IMartens Herald

Tim Kalinowski
Lethbridge Herald
The Lethbridge Fire Department held its annual ice-water rescue training exercise on Wednesday at Henderson Lake.
While learning all the necessary skills and risks to affecting an ice-water rescue the volunteer trainees donned dry suits and took turns acting the part of victim and rescuer within two-metre-square holes cut into Henderson’s frozen surface.
One of those fire department volunteer trainees, Greg Gaudette, said what opened his eyes to the importance of taking part in this type of training was an experience he had over the weekend.
“I got into this because we had an ice rescue call over the weekend,” he said. “It turned out everything was OK by the time we had gotten down there, but it opened my eyes that I have been around (in the department) for a few years and I didn’t have this course yet. It is definitely something to build on myself, and hopefully help out the department and the city.”
It has been a busier year for ice rescues this year, confirmed water rescue team lead Brendon Pyne, and this team has had to use these life-saving skills several times this winter already.
“We’ve had a number of calls already this year for dogs and other animals that have gone through the ice,” he stated. “We want the public to know if you do have an animal that has gone through the ice, wild or domesticated, phone 911. Don’t try to make the rescue yourself. The worst thing to happen is somebody is going to go out to try to get their dog, and they go through the ice. Call us and let us do it. And it will be taken care of safely.”
Pyne reminds people that with warmer weather expected in the coming week local water bodies will once again become unstable as they begin to thaw. He stressed the importance of being informed about local conditions before venturing near any form of larger water body with ice; especially with unleashed pets at your side.
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