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February 14, 2018 Slideshows » Outside

Firefighter Ice Rescue Training - Thurs., Feb. 8 

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Keely Damara
Bend firefighters attend a briefing on-ice rescue training Feb. 8.
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Capt. Chuck Goss helps firefighter Jeremiah Mattson into a dry suit before an ice training drill.
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Firefighter and paramedic Tim Reardon runs through the first drill. A firefighter will toss out a throw bag with rope to another firefighter, acting as a conscious victim trapped in the ice, in order to pull them to safety.
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Firefighter and paramedic Tim Reardon demonstrates how to tie a square knot.
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Firefighter Jeremiah Mattson prepares to catch a throw bag, acting as a conscious victim trapped in ice.
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After wrapping the rope around his arm three times, firefighter Jeremiah Mattson is pulled in by the crew on shore.
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Firefighter and paramedic Tim Reardon directs trainees where to set up the ice training exercise on the ice.
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Firefighter Jeremiah Mattson anchors a rope to shore in preparation for the second ice rescue exercise—retrieving an incapacitated individual in the ice.
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After wading out into the ice water tethered to the anchored rope, firefighters clip themselves to trainees, acting as the incapacitated victims
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Firefighter Colin Weddle crawls out on the ice toward Gabe Boileau, a firefighter acting as an individual who has fallen through the ice.
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Firefighters requested the training be done on thin ice, making the conditions at Shevlin Pond ideal for the drills, even in light of the warm weather
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Firefighter Colin Weddle, after clipping himself to firefighter Gabe Boileau, is pulled across the ice to safety by the fire crew on the shore.
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Firefighter Colin Weddle, after clipping himself to firefighter Gabe Boileau, is pulled across the ice to safety by the fire crew on the shore.
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Firefighter Colin Weddle wades to shore following an ice rescue drill.
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Keely Damara
Capt. Chuck Goss helps firefighter Jeremiah Mattson into a dry suit before an ice training drill.
The wildfire season may be over, but that doesn’t mean the Bend Fire Department isn’t keeping busy. Every year, firefighters run ice rescue drills to practice rescuing individuals and pets trapped after falling through thin ice. On Feb. 8, Bend Fire crews ran through ice rescue drills at Shevlin Pond in Bend. Battalion Chief Dave Howe says the fire department receives anywhere between zero and four to five calls a year for people and pets trapped in ice. While that may not seem like very many, he says even one can be devastating.

“We see a lot of footprints on the ice over the winter—people go out there a lot,” said Howe. “The river is much more dangerous, because the current keeps the ice thin.”

Howe says the best course of action after falling through the ice and failing to get yourself out is to conserve your energy and call for help. Keep your body compact to conserve as much heat as possible. Focus on breathing, stay calm and listen to instructions from rescuers. If you witness someone fall through the ice, whether human or animal, don't put yourself in danger by walking on the ice in an attempt to rescue them. Take note of where they fell in and call 911.

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