Monday, November 01, 2010

Pumpkin Carving fest 2010....

On Sunday, October 24th, 2010, the Point Pleasant Beach First Aid Dive Team hosted Yet Another Annual Underwater Pumpkin Carving Contest (we’ve totally lost count). We had a small turnout this year, but that just meant more cider and donuts for those who could make it!

Among the entries were Robert’s self portrait (including the tissue sticking out his nose) and another likeness of our Chief Diver (which, despite the blatant attempt to appeal to the judge’s vanity, still wasn’t enough to garner a prize). Tom Trafer crafted a crow-and-bat cage for the Most Creative prize, while Doug’s seahorse and Sue’s octopus tied for Best Carved.

Flo and Tom continued their team’s legacy in the Cheap Joke Award with the Toothpick Puffer. Despite the fact that they only actually carved three circles, they almost lost all their props when they opened their bag underwater and forgot that toothpicks will want to float away! They struggled valiantly to capture all the fugitives, resulting in yet another successful goofy pumpkin. Will they ever be dethroned???

It was a beautiful day topside, so we really appreciated that some of our families stopped by to visit the finished works and share a little fun with us.

As always, many thanks go to Cheesequake Farms of Old Bridge, NJ, for donating cider and the pumpkins! (We roasted the seeds later on for a great snack.) This event is only possible with their support.


Monday, September 13, 2010

Rescue 34 Boat Training....

Between the bad vis last week, and the nearshore leftovers from Hurricane Earl, our Rescue students and other Dive Team members have spent the last two weekends training with our boat and more surface rescue techniques.

We took Rescue 34 out (our 16 foot Zodiac rigid hull inflatable), first launching in Barnegat Bay and heading north up the Point Pleasant Canal, a manmade channel to Manasquan River, then out the busy inlet to the ocean.

An experienced crew member offered this advice about Rescue 34 to the new crew: "You don't ride in this boat; you hang on to it." We worked together to read the waves and shift body weight appropriately, allowing the driver to better get up on plane readily and maneuver efficiently. We also practiced coordinated surface scans and communication protocols with the boat operator about surrounding boat traffic.

Offshore, we had a little space to practice surface rescue techniques, such as dropping a rescuer off the boat to directly assist a victim in the water, and then extracting the victim. Chief Nesley and Tom C first demonstrated how to safely roll out of the boat at high speed (which, if you execute correctly, is a bit of fun). They then showed how to get yourself back into the boat unassisted, and how to assist a victim. Rescue students Milton and Joe took a few turns at it themselves and shortly showed improvement. We returned nearshore to practice closer to the beach swells, and at one point, two BayHead lifeguards even swam out through the waves to meet us. They got themselves into the boat, and we gave them a lift two beaches north back to where they came from. Milton and Joe demonstrated their new high speed dropoff-in-the-surf skills, which the lifeguards then replicated. They thought it was cool enough that they swam back out to the boat, climbed in again, and we dropped them off a second time at the beach where we started!

We've also taken advantage of the warm water to get in a little open ocean swimming and snorkeling. Today, we finally found clear water - 1 mile offshore! Free diving down from the surface, we found near-tropical water full of comb jellies and salps (aka "jellyblobs"). Fortunately, these organisms are not stingers, so we emerged unscathed.

Although much of this training is beyond the scope of a PADI Rescue Diver course, these are all practical skills for us to have under our belts in Point Pleasant Beach.


Sunday, September 12, 2010

Rescue Dive Training then a Rescue...

Rescue class continued on Sunday, September 12 for Milton and Tom T. With the annual Tube Race coming up next week and some sloppy waves building on the beach, we began there with surf entries. We worked on observing the surf, timing waves, and making over and under approaches. We also practiced entries and assists with rescue cans, and assisting a victim out through the surf.

We then moved our operations further up Manasquan River at Gull Island. We revisited panicked and unconscious divers at the surface, and utilized several forms of egress.

We had just finished the session, visited the 7-11 across the street for coffee, and actually jumped into a real rescue! Another dive class was beginning with the tide still coming in strongly. Most of the class was sufficiently far enough away from the railroad bridge to function, but one pair of divers ended up in the center of the channel too close to the bridge and was swept underneath. All by itself, this presents no danger, but the tide washed them up against the marina docks. Here all they could do was hold on, as the current was still too strong to swim back against, and it would have been difficult to work back to shore along the docks from there while being washed underneath.

Milton and Tom headed down the marina docks to assist from above while Chief Nesley jumped in from the bridge for the quickest response from water. When contact was made, the divers were quickly tiring from hanging on in the swift current and at least one was becoming panicky. Chief Nesley held onto the first diver and had her float under the dock to the leeward side, making it easier for Milton and Tom to haul her up onto the dock fully geared. The second diver was instructed to also move to the downstream side of the dock, and the extraction was repeated.

Our Rescue Divers learn very quickly that class sessions are not just academic exercises - skills really sink in (no pun intended) when you immediately apply them. You never know what is going to happen!


Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Wooden Boat Festival 2010...

On Saturday, July 17, 2010, we were once again invited by the US Coast Guard Auxiliary to display at the Wooden Boat Festival, held annually in Huddy Park, Toms River. We were unable to participate last year due to previous commitments, but the organizing committee received positive feedback about our tent the prior year, so we made it fit this season.

We met at 6 am to first collect specimens for our live touch tank display. We had to deal with mid-tide currents at the Gull Island railroad bridge, so Tom and Chet had their hands full just maintaining position in the channel. Flo and Sue managed to gather some "aquascaping" (i.e. encrusted rocks and seaweed) and hermit crabs from shore, as well as fill 4 additional buckets with seawater that would be needed to cool the temporary display. Tom and Chet finally managed to gather enough sea stars and other invertebrates that we could stock the tank and keep some in holding to rotate into the exhibit throughout the day.

The festival's organizing committee provided us with a space next to the main parking lot, so we had steady visitor traffic throughout the day. Our tent featured underwater photographs, an artifact and shell display, and the touch tank. The temperature was in the 90s, with just a little breeze, so we had to be vigilant in keeping the live tank cool. We kept sliding the tub around to keep it in the tent shadow, did several water changes with the reserve water, and floated ice packs when the sun had moved around enough that the tent couldn't shade it. As in the past, both adults and children had lots of questions about what lives right off the Jersey Shore, and almost everyone took a look at the bottles. For a hot day, we had a very pleasant crowd, which may have had something to do with the fact that an Ice Cream Festival was also happening just a few blocks away!

Alas, we couldn't stop for ice cream, as we had to return all of the live specimens back to Manasquan River.

As soon as that mission was accomplished back in Point Pleasant, a more urgent call came in.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Missing swimmer Manasquan Inlet...

Shortly after 7 pm on Saturday, July 17, 2010, while we were still cleaning up from the Wooden Boat Festival, an emergency call came in for a submerged swimmer right off Manasquan Inlet jetty. (The normal lifeguard crew is off the beach by 5:30 pm, and red flags had been posted on the beach, but with such a hot day, hundreds of people were still in and near the water at the time of the incident.) As it had been a busy day, many squad members were already at the squad building and immediately responded to Jenkinson's Beach at its closest access point. First Aid Captain Jerry Meany, a first aid crew, and a dive crew got on scene within 4-5 minutes (the time it takes to get across town) and discovered one man being assisted out of the rocks by a Jenkinson's security officer and bystander. The crowd indicated that a second man had gone down right off the south tip of the jetty minutes before.

Sue had responded to the beach in exposure suit, mask, fins, and snorkel, so she surface swam to the point of last contact and searched the outside of the jetty. With several breathhold dives, she also dipped down to look for the victim, but with ZERO vis and heavy surge, all she could do was feel the bottom and avoid getting smashed into the jetty herself. Within a few more minutes, Chet and Tom C also made it to the beach in full scuba gear and entered to conduct a more thorough search at the base of the rocks and concrete. They had no more success than the surface swimmer and found themselves totally enveloped in sea lettuce and in even more risk of being swept with the surge into the jetty. One of them described the experience as "being in a washing machine" and one of the worst dives he's ever had to do.

In the meantime, several first aiders and volunteer fire fighters were also posted around the jetty to help with spotting. The US Coast Guard, State Police, Point Pleasant Boro FD, and Budget Towing also had boats on the water to provide eyes and possible assistance from offshore. With increasing surf and surge and fading light, we pulled our divers from the water, and the USCG helicopter conducted a search with a thermal imaging camera, with negative results. Deteriorating water conditions and darkness led all parties to suspend the search for the night by 9:30 pm.

We returned to the beach Sunday morning to resume our in-water search under better conditions, recognizing that this had become a recovery operation. Our Rescue 34 boat (Doug, Paul, Tom T, and Tom C) and the private vessel of one of our first aid squad members (Jonathan, with Megan and Tom G) ran patterns up and down the beach to look for the victim from the surface. Simultaneously, two divers repeated last night's search of the tip of the jetty, but the sea lettuce and low tide surge still resulted in this pattern being conducted solely by feel. Due to the still-dangerous conditions, these divers exited the water.

In the meantime, the State Police returned with their boat and ran a pattern using side scan sonar. By mid-tide, water conditions and visibility had improved significantly, so we sent another three divers back in. Chet was finally able to conduct a systematic check of all the crevices around the tip of the jetty. Sue and Milton drifted with the incoming tide around the jetty tip and into the inlet proper to to investigate potential snag locations. After over an hour of searching with negative results, the search was called off until further sightings or information becomes available.

Our condolences go out to the family of the victim.

Asbury Park Press article

UPDATE: On Friday, July 23, 2010, the victim's body was spotted floating about one mile offshore outside of Manasquan Inlet and subsequently recovered by United States Coast Guard Station Manasquan.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Response to Reported Missing Swimmer...

This summer has quickly proven to be incredibly busy for the Point Pleasant Beach First Aid Squad and its Dive Team. Over the long Fourth of July holiday weekend alone, we responded to nearly 100 emergency calls, many of which were heat- and/or beach-related. Off the beach, water temperatures have shot up over 10 degrees in the last two weeks, so it is suddenly very comfortable to be in the ocean (we normally don’t experience these water temperatures consistently until well-into August). Check out for satellite imagery of local sea surface temps.

Although we’ve been missing some dive time to help cover all the land-based first aid calls, we’ve managed a few dives in the warm water. Shark River Inlet, in Avon , is out of our normal coverage area, but is only accessible for diving from 5pm – 8am during the summer, so we took advantage of the opportunity to do night dives there the last two weekends.

On Friday, 7/10, the night dive session was a little challenging with a quick tide change and low visibility. Immediately upon exiting the water, we were notified that a call for a possible missing swimmer was in progress back in Point Pleasant . Assistant Chief Melo had assumed command of Beach Operations and was already on scene with Brandon, Tom T, and Paul, and a first aid crew. When the still-wet dive crew arrived, that added 5 more sets (Chet, Milton, Sue, Andy, and Dave) of eyes on the beach. Also present were the Ocean FDs #1 and #2 and the Point Pleasant Boro FD and FA. With very rough surf and no confirmed victim, we conducted our primary search from shore with lights. The USCG, State Police, and Budget Towing (captained by Tom Hurst and crewed by our divers Tom C and Doug) participated in the search off shore, taking great caution to stay out of the rough conditions by the beach. At some point, a white object which could have been a t-shirt was spotted, so two rescue swimmers were sent to make contact - Milton got a rough lesson in rough surf entries, but he wisely extracted himself, while Chief Nesley went out to the object; once there he could only describe debris and lots of sticky sea foam, which could have been mistaken for a solid object. The USCG vessel even deployed two flares to help illuminate the night surf, and we could still find no victim. Upon further communication, it was revealed that the original emergency call from a bystander did not clearly describe an actual human body in the surf, and at least one experienced fisherman relayed that ocean sunfish (Mola mola) had been spotted around Manasquan Inlet and close to shore earlier in the day. Based on direct observations and the fact that still no one had been reported missing, we determined that this was a false alarm.

The following day, the first aid calls (almost all on the beach and boardwalk) just kept piling up on top of each other, and ANOTHER dive call came in - boat on fire, people in water. Four rescue divers got fully suited-up for a surface rescue while bouncing around in the back of 347 in the time it took to drive to the call. What the crew didn't know was that the USCG canceled us on the way there, so when we jumped out the back of the truck on arrival, we were very surprised to discover that we'd been re-routed to a first aid call on the beach. (Unless someone in the cabin tells you, you really have no idea what's going on outside when you're in the back of the dive rescue truck.)

It's going to be a loooong summer....

Monday, June 07, 2010

World Oceans Day ~Jenkinson's~

Jenkinson's Aquarium, located on the boardwalk in Point Pleasant Beach, once again celebrated World Oceans Day (officially June 8th) this past Saturday, June 5th. In addition to special arts & crafts and the presence of several environmental stewardship organizations, the Dvie Team was once again invited to share our underwater explorations with visitors.

We set up a display area featuring local underwater videos, artifacts, shells, and the infamous "Drysuit Guy". He might not be a superhero, but the fully assembled and inflated set of winter dive gear always makes for a great photo opportunity! The later part of the afternoon sent us especially interested visitors (probably looking to escape the hot, humid beach and boardwalk outside)

The highlight of our day was still conducting scuba diving demonstrations in the seal tank. Seaquin, Coral, and Luseal (the residents) were good-natured about sharing their tank with us three times throughout the day. Visitors got to see what a fully-suited Jersey diver looks like as we performed basic mask, regulator, and buoyancy skills. We were also glad to FINALLY be in wetsuits for the season; the tank was 74 degrees F, toasty compared to the 54 of the ocean.

It was a long day to be on display, but most of the Team was able to help out for at least part of the day, which included responding to four first aid calls around town.

For more about World Oceans Day, visit

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Pygmy Sperm Whale...

The Point Pleasant First Aid Dive Team has had some very interesting
activities in the recent years. This story ranks high among their
finest rescues. Here is the report.

At 1530 hours on May 15, 2010 the Point Pleasant First Aid Dive Team
was dispatched to Mantoloking Beach to aid a beached whale. The day was
beautiful. Not a cloud was in the sky, air temps were in the high 70's,
and a mild wind was blowing out of the west. Conditions at the shore
were excellent and if not for this call, divers would have considered
an ocean dive. When duty calls the dive team responds in numbers and
effect. This day was one of those days.

Assistant chief, Flo Melo, and Tom Conroy had gotten alerted earlier
and were already on scene. Chief diver, Chet Nesley, was called and he
notified the squad where Tom Gormley made the call to dispatch the dive
team on Chet's order. All team members were notified to go directly to
1073 Route 35 south in Mantoloking, the roadway site of the call. Dave
Gibson and Norva Gormley drove 342 to the site. Tom G loaded 347 with
the requested gear and drove to the site. First Aid Captain, Jerry
Meaney, drove 340 to the site as well.

On scene Flo and Tom C were attending the whale with the aid of several
local residents and beach goers. They had gotten the whale carefully
situated on the edge of the surf on the up[hill berm to relieve as much
stress as they could. Flo called immediately for a stokes basket from
Jerry M, while Tom G delivered dry suits to the site and donned his own
for immediate water assistance. Doug and Tom C also donned dry suits.
The water was still only in the high 40 degree range and people were
standing in the cold water assisting the whale for many minutes
already. Fortunately waves were only in the 1 to 2 foot range due to
the westerly winds.

The Mantoloking Fire Department and Police Department was called and
would arrive momentarily. The US Coast Guard was on alert and standing
by. Meanwhile members of the dive team were arriving and this was a
success of the E-dispatch system. Doug Hatch and Paul DeSalvo from the
team had been E-dispatched.

Meanwhile the whale was being supported and protected from incoming
waves and was physically moved onto the stokes basket with a mighty
effort of all involved. Children in the area were asked to name the
female whale which was identified as a Pygmy sperm whale according to
Flo, Tom C, and Chet who are also members of the Marine Mammal
Stranding Center, which is located in Brigantine. The children named
the whale Suzie. We all were doing our utmost to save and comfort Suzie
in her time of need. There is no doubt that humans feel a definite
attraction and need to assist at a time like this. Except for a police
officer, all of those involved were non paid but professional
volunteers and requested local residents.

With the arrival of the Fire Dept, we were gaining manpower to be able
to do some heavy lifting. The plan was to move Suzie off the beach so
she could eventually be placed on a large box truck coming from the
MMSC and off to their center for care. A plan was developed and
actuated to first slide Suzie off the berm onto level sand and then to
lift her onto the bed of the town's pickup. Suzie was 9 feet long and
weighed approximately 600 pounds. Moving her was done purely by human
muscle and it succeeded nicely. The pickup needed a pull from a bobcat
tractor to make it off the beach and again manpower lifted Suzie onto
the MMSC's truck.

A loud cheer was finally made to the satisfaction of a growing crowd of
interested and supporting onlookers. This was a job well done out of
love and admiration for our fellow creatures that live so close to us
in our Atlantic Ocean. A big thank you goes to all who participated and
assisted. The dive team could not have done the job alone though they
were a strong reason for the success.

Several local and statewide media services came to the scene and
interviewed Flo and Chet on behalf of the dive team. We made news in a
very favorable way today.

The call was completed at 1820 hours and the team completed cleaning
gear by 2030 hours. It was a long day. The sad news is that Suzie
succumbed to her condition on the way to Brigantine despite our efforts
to keep her wet, cool, and protected from sunlight. We had done our
best and would do this again in a Point Pleasant heartbeat.

Report by Tom Gormley for the Pt Pleasant First Aid Dive team

Local media coverage here...
and here...

Monday, May 03, 2010

Ring Recovery....

On Friday night, April 30, 2010, the Dive Team received an underwater Search and Recovery request from one of the town's Police Detectives. A couple, while working around their boat at Kingsbridge Marina, reported a missing purse. The woman had placed it on the cover of their dock box, but a wind blew the cover open, flinging the small purse into the water. Chief Nesley, Paul, and Dave went in at 10 pm to sweep under the dock to search for the purse. The divers had about 10 feet of visibility, but with the darkness and swiftly moving current, the object was not recovered.

We returned on Saturday morning with Chet, Dave, Milton, and Sue. This time, the boat owners met us at the dock and we were able to get a first-hand account of how, where, and when the item went missing. Most importantly, we learned that the tide was outgoing at the time of the loss (we had previously been told incoming), and that the brick-size purse had a ring of keys in it. This allowed us to better plan a search area, considering water movement, bottom composition, and how quickly the object should have sank.

Milton and Sue began their search by stringing a line between the dock (right under the boat) over to the railroad bridge to the east, with both ends anchored. They used this for visual reference to sweep back and forth, covering a large patch of real estate where the purse should have headed when it was lost. Meanwhile, Chet and Dave conducted an intensive search under the bridge itself; if the tide did bring the purse this far, the jumbled bottom structure and debris there would have likely snagged any rolling object.

After about a half hour of fruitless searching by both teams, Milton and Sue changed course to recheck around the dock and to the west. Lucky for Sue, she had trouble clearing one of her ears! Normally, that's not a lucky event, but her delayed descent dropped her down separated from Milton. While she was getting her bearings to decide whether to pursue her partner or sweep under an adjacent dock on her own, SHE LANDED ON THE PURSE.

All four divers regrouped and headed back to the truck, appearing to call it quits. The couple saw us ungearing and wanted to know how things went. Chief Nesley had some Good News and some Bad News for them. He gave them the Bad News first: "From this dock to the OTHER side of the bridge, it's not there." Then the Good News: "It was right over there, ten feet away from your boat." Roseann was ecstatic, so much so that she didn't think twice about giving bear hugs to four soaking wet divers. Her purse was soaked, but it had been zippered shut, so nothing had been lost. Even the ChapStick survived!

Sunday, March 07, 2010

2010 "Sale of the Sinkers"....

On Sunday, February 21, 2010, we were all geared up for one of our annual fundraisers. Every year, Ocean Fire Company #1, stationed in Point Pleasant Beach, runs a Fisherman's Flea Market, renting space in Antrim Elementary School in the center of town. As a professional courtesy to another EMS organization, the Fire Department has always provided us a table, free of charge, to allow us
to sell our wares. SELL WE DID!

In and among all the fishing and nautical supplies, our table was to feature about 1 ton of lead (we're not exaggerating) in the form of recovered sinkers. No sooner did we arrive at the school, before the flea market opened, and other vendors were fighting over who would get to purchase our scrap lead in bulk. Assistant Chief Melo brokered a couple of deals, and then we focused on smaller sales. We started at 20 ounces for $1, and it only got better for customers from there. Fishermen who didn't even know that they needed sinkers bought
sinkers! Who could resist, considering that our sinkers were pre-seasoned,
field-tested, bottom-compatible, AND guaranteed to sink!

"You dropped it, we found it!" We also sold a basin of recovered lures, three
salvaged fishing poles, and a dozen "nautical antiques" (old bottles). Chet,
Flo, three Toms, two Daves, Doug, Sue, Mark, and new guys Chris and Justin, all
took a turn behind the table.

Our goal: Don't carry anything back.
Mission accomplished.

Now we've got to start collecting sinkers AGAIN....


Monday, January 18, 2010

Ice Rescue Training and another Seal save...

For the middle of winter, this was an interesting day. It started when Flo Melo, our Assistant Dive Chief, got a call from the Marine Mammal Stranding Center to investigate two more local seal sightings in Manasquan and Brielle, neighboring towns just to the north across the Manasquan River. Throughout our winter, it is very common for seals to come ashore to rest or nap, but this isn't common knowledge. When Flo and Tom went to evaluate the harbor seal on the beach, some bystanders weren't even aware that there were ANY seals in New Jersey. Consulting with the MMSC via cell phone, it was determined that this one was in no distress and required no human assistance other than to be left alone. When we returned later in the afternoon, all that was left was a set of flipper tracks back to the ocean. The second seal, laying on a dock in Brielle, was even a little feisty, vocally letting Flo and Tom know that he did indeed wish to be left alone. We are told that every holding tank in the Stranding Center's Brigantine facility is full right now, so this was good news for everyone!

The Dive Team then conducted an ice rescue drill with the Mantoloking Fire Department. Our Squad provides coverage for Point Pleasant Beach, BayHead, and Mantoloking, so this was a great opportunity to work with other emergency service volunteers who might one day provide us surface support. It was 40 degrees, windy, and rainy, but everyone was ready to drill. Chief Nesley first demonstrated to the firefighters to how to evaluate ice conditions, especially if properly suited divers are not yet available to assist with an ice rescue. The firefighters were then introduced to the drysuits that our divers are outfitted with, and they practiced helping a diver into the suit. We were
especially concerned with proper handling of the suit's zipper and ensuring proper neck seals.

We then went though various shore support and rescue options for the firefighters. Everyone took their turns with throw bags, the safest way to get a line out to someone in ice without risking someone else falling through. We then demonstrated backboard use to remove a victim from an ice hole, and the firefighters got the feel of hauling the board back to shore. We also might call upon the Fire Department to tend line for us. Just like last week's ice diving drill, we practiced tying appropriate knots for a diver's harness. Several of the firefighters also got a feel of our line pull system of communication.

We had a lot of line to clean, but the firefighters were introduced to the equipment we might use and now know what to expect during an ice rescue. We are thankful to know that one day they could have our backs.


Sunday, January 10, 2010

Ice Rescue Drill ~2010~

On January 10, 2010, the Point Pleasant Beach First Aid Dive Team got the year's serious training off to a good start with a very productive Ice Rescue drill. The weather has been below freezing for two weeks now, with the nights dipping into the teens, so several of the coves on the Barnegat Bay-side of our coverage area were iced over enough to re-drill on ice surface rescues and ice diving.

As always, we started by evaluating the ice conditions. About 4 inches of ice covered the center of the cove, which was stable enough for us to prepare the triangular hole that is standard for ice diver access and egress. All divers were outfitted with harnesses and tethered for their dives. To minimize the chances of tangles, only one or two divers were in at a time, each one with a personal tender, who has as much responsibility for a safe operation as the

We practiced our line pull system of communication, which is simple but works well, especially with each diver focused strongly on navigation. Under the ice in these coves, many of our natural navigation cues (sun angle, sand ripples, channel contours, established currents) are unreliable. Surrounded by steel bulkheads, our underwater compasses worked in some places and not-so-well in others. Eric gets the award for Best, Long, Straight Line Swim. Tom Trafer, training for the first time with ice, found out quickly how easy it is to get disoriented, and the value of an attentive tender. Fortunately, visibility was 5-10 feet, so we all got a nice underwater tour. We didn't see too much in the way of active marine life, but Sue located numerous snails and worm mounds, and
Chet found a small eel, frozen right up under the ice.

We then drilled on Surface Ice Rescue. What do we do when someone falls through the ice? We practiced crossing the ice while distributing our weights, so that the rescuer does not fall though for as long as possible. We then practiced falling through to ensure that you yourself do not go under. The harder parts were getting yourself back out, and, most importantly, getting a victim back out of the ice. We all practiced using a backboard to remove an unresponsive victim out of the loose ice closer to the bay.
Thanks go to one of our Squad's EMTs for keeping an eye out for us, providing hot packs for our hands and chocolate chip cookies too! As much as most of are NOT fans of long cold spells, this provided us with a great opportunity to drill on handling a likely winter rescue scenario.