West Kelowna Fire Rescue prepares for ice rescue

The fire department averages two to four ice rescues per year

West Kelowna firefighters have received their annual ice rescue training.

West Kelowna Fire Rescue is prepared for ice rescues this winter.

Fire Chief Jason Brolund explained they average two to four ice rescues per year, which is why all of their professional firefighters receive annual training for ice rescue.

“They’re trained that way so that we can be sure to do that activity safely, because it is a really high-risk activity,” Brolund described. “Over the course of becoming a firefighter they receive certified training, and then every year they spend a day just practicing that skill.  Now that we have some ice out on the lake it’s something we take advantage of, because we don’t know how long that ice will last or if it might get really thick.  Then we have to cut a hole in it, and the training isn’t nearly as effective.”

Brolund noted the key to ice rescue is getting there quickly, which is why all of their trucks already have ice equipment on them so they are ready to go during winter.  There are three bodies of water in the WKFR coverage area that have the risk of breaking ice; Shannon Lake, Rose Valley Lake and Green Bay on Okanagan Lake.  Although WKFR is ready to assist if there is an emergency, Brolund is putting an emphasis on accident prevention.

“Basically it’s about being informed,” he said.  “If you and your family are going to go out on the ice, take the time to do your research and make sure it’s safe.  The ice can be a very different thing on Green Bay in Okanagan Lake than it is at one of the higher mountain lakes.  So people who are going to go do this should verify the thickness of the ice, and make sure they have the proper equipment to do that.  Skating on the ice is one thing, but if you’re taking snow machines or even cars on lakes, the ice needs to be a lot thicker.”

If someone does fall through the ice, the first thought of any witness should be to call emergency personnel for assistance.  After that, they should avoid putting themselves in further danger as it is already difficult to rescue one person, and emergency responders don’t want to also have to rescue the rescuers.  If you are the one to fall through the ice, fight to save yourself and try to climb back on it.

“If people do get into trouble on the ice, they should be trying to spread their weight out,” Brolund explained.  “Try to spread spread your weight out over as wide an area as possible, and make your way back to shore as quickly as you can.”

Brolund added as long as you have proper respect for the conditions and go outdoors in a safe manner, you should be fine.

 

Just Posted

Pedestrian struck on Dillworth Drive

Traffic is backed up on Highway 97 as well as Dillworth Drive

West Kelowna acquires land for Rose Valley Water Treatment Plant

The city has acquired 24 acres on Bartley Road

Kelowna council gives green light to cannabis shop rezonings

Seven rezoning applications for cannabis retail stores on council’s agenda Monday

Street signs, light knocked over in crash along Highway 97

Multiple signs and a light were knocked over at the Old Vernon Road interesection

Trailer stolen from Black Mountain, Lake Country business takes a hit

Little Lakes Contracting is asking for the public’s assistance to locate a trailer

VIDEO: The ‘most cosmopolitan’ of butterflies could migrate to B.C.

The painted lady butterfly will likely arrive this summer from Southern California

SPCA seizes 54 animals from Vernon property

Animals weren’t receiving adequate care

Is it a homicide? B.C. woman dies in hospital, seven months after being shot

Stepfather think Chilliwack case should now be a homicide, but IHIT has not confirmed anything

Indecent caller handed 18-month conditional sentence

Vancouver Island man pleaded guilty to making indecent phone and video calls to women across B.C.

Sources say Trudeau rejected Wilson-Raybould’s conservative pick for high court

Wilson-Raybould said Monday “there was no conflict between the PM and myself”

First Nations public art piece stolen in Nanaimo

Spindle Whorl went missing over the weekend, according to Nanaimo RCMP

RV lifestyle comes to the Okanagan

BC Interior RV Show returns to Penticton for the eighth year

Father-son duo at B.C. Children’s Hospital helps new dads fight depression

The pair teamed up to introduce the only known research-based mindfulness workshop for new dads

Mexican restaurant in B.C. told to take down Mexican flag

General manager of Primo’s Mexican Grill in White Rock: ‘I’ve never heard of anything like this’

Most Read