By Anne Eickstadt

ANNE EICKSTADT PHOTOS Belvidere Republican
The BFD rescue team keeps a close eye on the guys on the ice as they haul them back to safety.


The Belvidere Fire Dept. took advantage of the freezing, February weather to work on their cold-water rescue skills. Over the course of three days, Feb. 5 through 7, firefighters could be found in Belvidere Park, even in freezing rain/sleet weather, – next to, on, and in – the Kishwaukee River, as they practiced.

“We do our annual ice rescue training at about this time of year,” said Lt. Chris Letourneau. “This is when the ice forms. This is when people would be around the ice and might fall through into the water beneath. Actual ice rescue is a skill we are familiar with, but it is a skill that we rarely have to use, so we train to keep our skills sharp just in case we do need to use them.

“Each member of the BFD goes through the training because members of our on-duty crew would be the first to respond to a rescue call and would be the first ones into their Mustang suits [a cold-water suit which is water-proof and insulated] to protect us from the water.

“People occasionally fall through the ice and panic or become disoriented so we also train to rescue someone who is struggling and/or fighting us.


For complete article, pick up the Feb. 14 Belvidere Republican newspaper.

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