Freezin’ for a reason in Hyrum Reservoir

Fire fighters and EMT's placing their heads under water to experience what victims feel when they fall through the ice. (Courtesy of Bridgerland Technical College)

LOGAN — Most people would not consider swimming in Hyrum Reservoir to be a fun way to spend the weekend this time of year. For more than a dozen local first-responders though, that is exactly what they signed up for.

Fire fighters and EMT’s practicing ice surface rescues at Bridgerland Technical College. (Courtesy of Travis Robson)

Travis Robson, from the North Park Fire Department, was one of the 17 fire fighters and EMT’s who participated in the three-day training. He said the class focused on the technical aspects of how to perform surface-ice rescues.

“We learned to safely remove people from lakes and ponds that have fallen through the ice, including safe ways to even save animals” explained Robson. “The majority of these calls start with a dog falling through the ice.”

The class started with two days of training that was held at the Bridgerland Technical Collage West Campus. During which, the participants practiced using equipment like rescue sleds, buoys and reach-bars.

Robson explained that on Sunday the participants then met at the marina of the reservoir to conduct mock rescues. Even though they were all wearing protective suits, they had to place their heads under the water, to experience what a victim might go through, when they fall in.

Fire fighters and EMT’s practicing ice surface rescues at Hyrum Reservoir. (Courtesy of Bridgerland Technical College)

“Yeah, it was really cold,” said Robson. “Every one of us were gasping for air after we came out of the water. I have experienced this before but not this cold of water. It was pretty crazy. Not many people do that I don’t think, voluntarily stick their head in the freezing water.”

The training also focused on how rescuers work together as a team, not only to quickly provide aid to the victim but also to protect themselves.

Robson said they were trained never to get in the water, until a victim is secured with some sort of flotation device. That will usually keep them from pulling rescuers under and drowning them.

“They taught us to go up, grab the victim’s arm and slide a buoy over the top of them. Then assist them to put it on completely, under their arms. After that, if we have our sled with us, then move into the water.”

The training was organized by the Bridgerland Fire and Rescue Services and the Logan City Fire Department.

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