January 28, 2014 at 12:00 AM
South Plainfield Fire Department braved the cold weather and icy water to hold a Surface Ice Rescue Operations training class last weekend.
The training class, which is conducted by Lifeguard System, has to be done every three years so the Fire Department can be recertified. Training consisted of a full day in class at the South Plainfield Senior Center, where about 45 firefighters from South Plainfield Fire, South Plainfield Rescue Squad, and the Watching Fire Department. Members were provided with a refresher on the techniques associated with ice and water rescue on Saturday.
On Sunday, the training moved to the lake located in Watchung, NJ adjacent to the firehouse. The lake was partially frozen, which made the training realistic for the firefighters. The firefighters used the ICS system to conduct the training.
Capt. Bulla, Capt. Campbell, Capt. Tenninbaum, and Lt. Kolenski took turns taking command and being the operation and saftey officers for the training. A team of firefighters were put together with two technician rescuers and eight operation tenders to locate the victim in the lake.
Two firefighters then put on ice=rescue suits with help from the team and used a reel with about 300 feet of rope that was hooked to a sled that is sent out to rescue the victim in the ice hole. A second firefighter was then hooked to another reel standby in case that firefighter needed help.
All firefighters that went on the ice to make a rescue received technician cards the others received an operation card for their certification. Important lessons were put into practice and the day was deemed a success.