Dozens of firefighters from around the state are taking part in a "Rescue Skills Weekend" today and tomorrow in Nevada in central Iowa. Randy Novak, with the Fire Service Training Bureau, says many of the firefighters will be jumping into icy water to learn how to save people who’ve fallen through ice.
Novak says they’ll learn how to wear protective cold-water gear and floatation devices. "They’ll also learn how to use the tools that are already at their disposal…ladders and ropes and things like that, to stabilize themselves on ice that’s a little thinner, and then how to perform those rescues," Novak said. Firefighters perform ice rescues more often than Iowans might think.
Novak says, "Typically when things start to cool down and we first start to see the formation of ice, and again in the spring when we start to see the thawing, is where we end up with some problems." The firefighters will also learn grain bin rescue skills and vehicle extrication techniques. Novak says part of the challenge for rescue personnel in freeing a person trapped in a vehicle – is learning about all the new vehicles.
"It’s really a question of just starting to understand the newer technology and realizing the old way of doing things won’t necessarily work on the newer cars," Novak said. "We still have the right kind of tools…it’s really just understanding the cars." The Rescue Skills Training sessions will take place at the Ag Information Center in Nevada from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and 8 a.m. to noon tomorrow.