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Surface Ice Rescue Training

Surface Ice Rescue Awareness Lecture 

(4 Hours to Complete)

The student will be provided with the information required to safely respond to and operate at incidents involving cold water and / or ice rescue operations in compliance with the provisions of NFPA 1670 – Standard on Operations and Training for Technical Search and Rescue Incidents.  The student will be able to:

  • Explain the procedures for size-up of existing and potential conditions where ice rescue operations are employed.
  • Describe the resources necessary to conduct safe and effective ice rescue operations, and possible sources for those resources.
  • Identify and describe the hazards and features of moving water, and the dangers when combined with ice formations.
  • Describe the procedures for implementing the emergency response system for ice rescue incidents.
  • Describe the procedures for implementing site control and scene management.
  • Describe procedures for recognition of general hazards associated with ice rescue incidents and the procedures necessary to mitigate these hazards within the general rescue area.
  • Describe the procedures to determine rescue versus body recovery.
  • Describe the personal protective equipment (PPE) required for water and ice rescue incidents, including the proper selection and use of such equipment.
  • Explain the sequence of operations employed at water and ice rescue incidents.

Surface Ice Rescue Operations

(8 Hours to complete)

This program of instruction will provide the student with the knowledge and skills necessary to safely operate at ice rescue incidents, including scene assessment, resource identification, hazard recognition and the initiation of the rescue response plan, along with basic “shore-based” rescue techniques. (NFPA 1006 – Level I / NFPA 1670 – Operations Level). In addition to reviewing the Awareness Level knowledge, skills and abilities, the student will be able to:

  • Describe the procedures to determine rescue versus body recovery based on human physiology and survival factors.
  • Describe the signs and symptoms of the various stages of hypothermia, as they relate to both the patient and the rescuer.
  • Describe the care and management of hypothermic / near-drowning victims.
  • Assess water and ice conditions, and their potential hazard to victim and rescuer alike, based on local known hazards, mechanism of entrapment, water depth, and local terrain.
  • Demonstrate the ability to make the following rope and webbing configurations:
    • bight
    • loop
    • round turn
    • figure eight
    • figure eight on a bight
    • figure eight bend
    • clove hitch / half hitch
    • overhand safety knot
    • water bend
  • Demonstrate the safe and proper donning of water rescue PPE including:
    • Personal Floatation Devices (PFD)
    • Thermal protection / flotation suits
    • Safety tethers
    • Any other PPE provided to the rescuer by their agency for water and ice rescue operations at a Level I capability.
  • Demonstrate the procedures for setting up agency equipment used for ice rescue operations.
  • Demonstrate the proper procedures for setting up support equipment used by the agency to assist with ice rescue incidents.
  • Demonstrate the procedures for acting as a tender during a Level II “Go” type rescue, along with rescuer-tender communication signals.
  • Demonstrate the skills required to act as an upstream spotter or as a downstream safety person.
  • Demonstrate the procedures for conducting a shore-based “non-entry” rescue from an ice rescue situation. 
  • Demonstrate how to properly utilize a water rescue throw bag and basic victim belay techniques used when bringing the victim to shore.
  • Demonstrate various “reach” methods of victim rescue, including manufactured ice rescue pole systems, ladders and pike poles, as well as other improvised objects.
  • Demonstrate the proper handling of the hypothermic and / or near-drowning patient as they are removed from the water and transferred to EMS personnel.

Surface Ice Rescue Technician

(8 Hours to complete)

This program of instruction will provide the student with the knowledge and skills necessary to safely operate and manage operations at ice rescue incidents, including scene assessment, resource identification, hazard recognition and the initiation of the rescue response plan, along with basic and advanced  rescue techniques. (NFPA 1006 – Level II / NFPA 1670 – Technician Level). In addition to reviewing the Operations Level knowledge, skills and abilities, the student will be able to:

  • Describe the various roles within the incident management system at ice rescue emergencies.
  • Assume the lead role in the various operations required at ice rescue incidents.
  • Describe and implement a rapid intervention capability for assisting other rescuers operating at an ice or water emergency.
  • Set-up and deploy the various ice rescue equipment used by the agency for a contact rescue, including sleds, platforms, rafts or other water / ice rescue craft.
  • As part of an organized response, will be able to demonstrate a contact rescue of a victim from the ice while being properly tended and assisted by support personnel.
  • Demonstrate the ability to successfully swim or otherwise maneuver through a designated course prescribed by the AHJ in order to show swimming proficiency and the proper use of various swim aids.
  • Demonstrate the proper management of a combative victim during a contact rescue.