The East Pierce Fire and Rescue Water Rescue Team took advantage of the weather to practice ice rescue training for about three hours on Lake Tapps on Friday, Jan. 18, 2013.
“Most years we don’t get the chance,” said East Pierce Lt. Matt Jewitt. “Ice rescues aren’t frequent for us, but they do happen and it’s important for the team to practice how they would respond.”
A dozen members of the department’s water rescue team punched a 4 by 4 foot hole through several inches of ice to practice severaltypes of drills. One was self-rescue, with members practicing how to haul themselves out of the ice in case they accidently break through. The second was victim rescue. They also practiced an animal rescue, since it’s not uncommon for dogs to fall into the icy waters.
If someone does fall through the ice, the fire department advises the public to stay off the ice. Instead, throw something to the victim to help stabilize them while waiting for the fire department to arrive.
“The ice on Lake Tapps can be deceptive, since the lake is not a traditional bowl, like most lakes. The best way to prevent an ice rescue is to stay off the lake when it is iced over,” said Jewitt.