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.


RightsideVA said...

When I got up this morning I saw that Miami had a morning temperature of 33 degrees...

I called my friend and Captain of the Sportfishing boat that I worked on while in the Florida Keys to check the conditions.

Captain Jim Sharpe advised me that they have water temps near the reefs of 70 degrees and in some canals down to 57 degrees.

Most of the reef fish are lethargic in their actions and some of the fish in the colder canals are seen on the surface swimming in circles...

Navigation Writer said...

Interesting blog. The sun is easiest to use on land at the start and end of the day, but underwater there is a problem here. As you probably know the sun angle is made less reliable when low in the sky due to refraction angles.