Crews Train For Icy Rescues

SILVER LAKE– It is something that everyone fears, and on Saturday, crews from Spokane and Medical Lake participated in a drill that could be lifesaving for anyone trapped on an icy lake.

Fighting for your life in an icy lake is a situation that you never want to find yourself in, but on Saturday, local rescue teams held a training session to get people out of any type of icy trouble.

The Spokane Water Rescue Team, along with Spokane and Medical Lake firefighters, held their annual ice rescue training on Saturday at Silver Lake.

“Sometimes they’ll want to use you as a lifeline so of course you have to be prepared to have everything ripped away or clawed at,” Spokane Water Rescue Team member Darren Prouty said. “People will climb up on top of you to get out. Either that or they’re just a limp sponge. So you have to be prepared for anything.”

Prouty says that people decide to take their chances out on the ice because it looks thick enough.

However, even when the ice is 2 to 3 inches thick, the ice around it could be much thinner and could give way very quickly.

If you ever fall into an icy lake, hypothermia can set in after only five minutes of being in the water. Because of this, crews need to train to not only get people out of the water safely, but also quickly.

“The body can’t handle too much time in that freezing water,” Prouty said. “Some people can take more than that…others will go under quite quickly.”

Practice is everything to these teams, because with each simulated rescue, the people of this team get faster and more confident about saving lives.

“Everybody is always tempted to go out on the ice whether it’s to save a small animal or to go out there and have fun and chances are at least one time a year somebody falls through and we want to be prepared for that.” Prouty said.