Ice Rescue Drill held on Lake Parsippany

PARSIPPANY — On Sunday, January 14 members of the Parsippany Water Rescue Team held a drill at Lake Parsippany.

The purpose of the drill was to hone in on the skills that are needed to perform an effective rescue in the event of an ice rescue.  Approximately 20 Ice Rescue Technicians took to the ice to complete three hands on stations.

The first station labeled “self-rescue” ensures that the rescuer is able to rescue themselves in the event they are put into a situation where they need to remove themselves. Part of the equipment used for self-rescue is built into the ice rescue suit so familiarity with the proper Personal Protective Equipment was integrated into this station.  Members had to enter the water and then pull themselves out.  While this sounds easy, the ice does not provide anywhere to grip thus making the ice picks that are built into the suit vital to the rescuer.

Robert Campbell, Jr., Parsippany-Troy Hills Volunteer Fire Department District 5, after coming from the water. Notice the ice on his clothes from the freezing waters

The second station labeled “life ring rescue” provides one way of rescuing an individual from the water if they fall in through the ice.  This station required the rescuer to get into the water with the victim and aid the victim in donning the life ring around them which the rescuer would secure followed by the onshore personnel would pull both out utilizing the rope tethered to the life ring.

The third station labeled “sled rescue” was another way of rescuing an individual.  This station had a rescuer utilizing a Marsar sled which was brought to the victim. The rescuer would angle the sled into the water towards the victim and have the victim feed their arms through a loop.  When ready, members onshore would start pulling, pulling the victim on to the sled, then the sled out of the water with the victim and rescuer on the sled.

The Parsippany Water Rescue Team was formed after Hurricanes Irene and Sandy.  A need for additional personnel to be trained in Ice and Swift Water was identified thus leading to the formation.

The team consists of members of Rainbow Lakes Volunteer Fire Department District 2, Lake Parsippany Volunteer Fire Department District 3, Lake Hiawatha Volunteer Fire District 4, Parsippany-Troy Hills Volunteer Fire District 5 and Parsippany-Troy Hills Volunteer Fire District 6 and Parsippany Rescue and Recovery.

Members of Parsippany CERT and R.A.C.E.S

Parsippany CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) and R.A.C.E.S (Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service) was invited to come out and observe the procedures. RACES provided a drone and video taped the event.

Rockaway Neck Volunteer Ambulance Squad, Parsippany Volunteer Ambulance Squad and Par Troy Emergency Medical Services provide medical monitoring and transport if needed for team members and any victims of an incident.

The team conducts training multiple times a year in different environments to ensure an ever readiness in the event of an emergency in or near the water.