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East Pierce Fire’s water rescue team practices ice rescue on Lake Tapps

Post by Stacia Glenn / The News Tribune on Jan. 18, 2013 at 12:38 pm |
January 18, 2013 1:27 pm
Ice rescue training was conducted by East Pierce Fire and Rescue on a partially frozen Lake Tapps Friday morning (photo courtesy Dan Devaux)
Ice rescue training was conducted by East Pierce Fire and Rescue on a partially frozen Lake Tapps Friday morning (photo courtesy Dan Devaux)

East Pierce Fire & Rescue crews took advantage of the weather this morning and practiced ice rescue training on a frozen Lake Tapps.

“We had good ice so we took our shot,” Lt. Matt Jewitt said. “Most years we don’t get the chance.”

About 12 members of the department’s water rescue team donned dry suits and used axes to punch a 4 by 4 foot hole through several inches of ice. The training lasted three hours.

The team practiced three types of drills.

One was self-rescue, with members practicing how to haul themselves out of the ice in case they break through. The second was victim rescue – using baskets and backboards to walk through how they would save somebody. They also practiced shoreline rescue.

The third was animal rescue, since it’s not uncommon for dogs to plunge into the icy waters.

Jewitt said ice rescues aren’t frequent in the area but they do happen and it’s important for the team to practice how they would respond.

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