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Search & Rescue Cold Water Training Held At Lake Gogebic

LAKE GOGEBIC - The early arrival of spring turned what was to be an Ice Rescue Training session into a Cold Water Training session at Lake Gogebic this past Saturday.
The members of Gogebic County’s Search and Rescue Team presented an ice rescue training session for local firefighters from Gogebic County and Bergland Township.
While the ice was non-existent the enthusiasm was not.  A full day of training took place at the Lake Gogebic Volunteer Fire Department Fire Hall.
Slide Show

The training session began with a “Cold Water Boot Camp Video” presented by S&R team member Bill Baer. Paul Cradit then spoke to the firefighters regarding qualified personnel, awareness and the technical considerations at a rescue scene.
Melanie Fullman then spoke to the crew about sizing up the scene, ICS, Mutual Aid and the work plan.  Melanie spoke quite a bit about the use of GPS in the Search and Rescue Operation. One of the things that she told the potential rescuers serves as good advice for anyone venturing on or in the lake, or venturing out into the forest. That is, make sure you have your GPS calibrated correctly and when giving your co-ordinates state them in Degrees: Minutes.minutes, NOT  Degrees:Minutes.Seconds. The failure to communicate the proper location will slow down the rescue attempt.
After Melanie’s presentation the group headed across the road to  Fishtales Resort, where an equipment survey and in water training would take place.
The Firefighter’s from the LGVFD as you might expect had a considerable amount of rescue gear. The group spent some time observing the inflatable boat used for both in the water and on ice rescues. Regrettably, too many residents and visitors fail to use better judgment when venturing out onto frozen lakes. The result of that poor judgment puts not only them at risk, but also puts the lives of the rescue team in peril as well.
The approximately 20 members of the Search and rescue team are “volunteers” just as our firefighters. They do not receive any compensation for their great work. 

above - Brian Berquist (left) demonstrates inflatable rescue device. Michael Tilley (right) member of GS&R Team looks on.
pictured above - Search and Rescue diver, John Cox demonstrates uses for some of his gear.
Above -Melanie Fullman, shows haw a victim with a possible spinal injury can be loaded onto the rescue craft. In the boat is S&R team member Paul Cradit, assisted by Michael Tilley.
The inflatable boat is quite interesting, while it might not win any beauty contests; it is well designed and engineered for the task of rescue work. Both the bow and stern have openings large enough to bring a victim aboard.  What appears to be a reasonably small craft can actually carry approximately 20 people to shore, either on board or hanging on to the lines along the crafts sides.
After the review of the safety equipment and its proper use, the group headed into the cold water of Lake Gogebic. The firefighters took turns being the victims in the water and the rescuers in the watercraft.
In the water the firefighters wore protective suits, again not very stylish but impressively effective. The suits kept the men and women warm and dry, and they also provide buoyancy.
Members of the Gogebic Search and Rescue Team along with the county’s Firefighters are all volunteers, members that we work side by side with each day of the week. They spend many hours each year training in preparation for the inevitable catastrophe.

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