Firefighters take extra ice training

Published 9:39 am Friday, February 1, 2019

Two days of single-digit temperatures were a boon to local firefighters as they worked in another day of ice rescue training.

The Clark County Fire Department hosted a class last week, but this week’s temperatures offered another opportunity as Winchester Fire-EMS hosted its own class Thursday.

“It’s a special kind of rescue at a special time of year with special equipment,” Winchester Fire-EMS Battalion Chief Jason Keller said. “Being able to have these days where we can run real-life scenarios … makes it important.”

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More than a dozen firefighters from Winchester, Clark County and Bourbon County descended on a local farm off Mount Sterling Road to begin training with different equipment and single or multiple victims. Keller said there are ponds throughout the city and county

“A lot of times with ice rescues you have your initial victim and a would-be rescuer that also becomes a victim,” Keller said, “because they fell through the ice.”

Firefighters used a combination of equipment including ropes, backboards and extension ladders to reach their victim in the water.

“Our No. 1 priority is a shore-based rescue if possible,” Keller said. “A lot of times, that doesn’t always work so we have to do a go-based rescue.”

Firefighters rotated through being the victim in the water, working from the ground or going out on the ice. A heated tent was set up so firefighters could warm up after their stint in the water.

The best way to avoid an ice rescue, he said, is for people to stay off the ice. Though it is thickest by the bank, it thins farther out toward the middle of the pond or lake.

“Just because it’s cold one day doesn’t mean it’s frozen,” Keller said.

About Fred Petke

Fred Petke is a reporter for The Winchester Sun, the Jessamine Journal and the State Journal. His beats include cops, courts, fire, public records, city and county government and other news. To contact Fred, email or call 859-759-0051.

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