Capt. Graham Gowe of Penticton Fire Rescue is the “victim” in this ice rescue scenario and is being helped by fellow firefighter Erik Jorgensen.

Taking the plunge: Penticton fire department practices ice rescues

Penticton Fire Rescue dives into training mode on Okanagan Lake

The scenario that unfolded at the marina on Okanagan Lake last week was that of two people who had fallen through the thin ice with only limited time for rescue before suffering hypothermia.

One by one members of the Penticton Fire Department managed to pull the people out of the water, along the ice to safety.

In this case the two “victims” were actually off-duty members of the fire department taking part in ice rescue training program that was overseen on by firefighter/instructor Erik Jorgensen.

This was the second session this month.

“We’ve got good conditions and we’re just taking advantage at the marina for ice and to train our ice rescue teams,” said Jorgensen, who was working with firefighters Capt. Graham Gowe, Mike Sutherland and Wes Swaren.

This was the second ice rescue training this month, the other taking place the first week in January.

“We’re working in just minimal ice conditions, about one inch, that’s breaking very easily on us so it gives us a good opportunity to train for self-rescue and train for patient rescues as well,” said Jorgensen.

As well as using live “patients” crews also train with the department’s dead weight dummies. The patient rescue is so they are able to help others, such as those who go out onto frozen surfaces for recreation, including snowmobilers and ice fishers.

The self-rescue portion of the ice rescue technician program is a critical component for emergency personnel like firefighters who in the line of work may have to go out onto the ice during the course of their duties.

Related: Firefighters on thin ice

There are also cases like the one last January where on Skaha Lake near Okanagan Falls where a deer had fallen through the ice and Penticton Fire Department was called. In that case the deer was able to free itself and the concern was more for the members of the public that had wanted to help. In Dec. 2015, members of the Oliver Fire Department were forced to rescue a teenager who had fallen through the ice on Tuc-El-Nuit Lake.

In addition to Penticton Fire Department, members of the volunteer Penticton and District Search and Rescue have similar training in flat ice rescue.

 

Penticton firefighter Erik Jorgensen helps “victim” to more solid ice with the help of a rope line. Mark Brett/Western News

Capt. Graham Gowe (at right) pulls the rescuer and a “victim” to safety during Penticton Fire Department ice rescue training in the frozen waters of the Okanagan Lake marina.

Standing on thin ice, firefighters prepare for their next ice rescue training session.

Firefighter Mike Sutherland takes the plunge into the icy Okanagan Lake waters. Mark Brett/Western News

Mike Sutherland (left) and Wes Swaren hit the water after breaking through the ice. Mark Brett/Western News

Just Posted

Exploring the edges of the blues

JW-Jones takes to the Dream Café stage in Penticton for the first time tonight

Warm Up for Winter drive expands to cover the South Okanagan

Penticton clothing drive for those in need expands to the whole South Okanagan

Video: Penticton woman imparts good advice on her 100th birthday

Breezy Johnson celebrated her birthday surrounded by her friends and family

VIDEO: Fire destroys historic Hitching Post restaurant in Hedley

Two people were injured as fire ripped through the Hedley restaurant around 2:30 a.m. Tuesday

Former Kamloops sheriff caught in sex-related sting pleads guilty to lesser charge

Kevin Johnston will be sentenced on Nov. 6 for his role in communicating online with a person posing as a 14-year-old girl.

Federal carbon tax rebates will exceed the cost for most people affected

Officials say 70 per cent of people in those provinces will get back more than they end up paying out as fuel costs rise to incorporate the carbon tax.

5 tips to keep trick-or-treaters safe this Halloween

BC Children’s Hospital has a few suggestions to keep Oct. 31 fun

B.C. man gets seven years in prison for baseball-bat attack on Kamloops teen

Kamloops man who beat Jessie Simpson into a coma has pleaded guilty to aggravated assault. He was originally charged with attempted murder and assault with a weapon.

Cougar spotted after Vancouver Island resident finds his decapitated cat

Reports of conservation officers actively looking for the predator in Port Hardy Tuesday afternoon

Time running out for TV debate on proportional representation

B.C. Liberal leader spars with Premier John Horgan over timing

New rules introduced to protect B.C. foreign workers from exploitation

More than 16,000 temporary permits issued last year

JoeAnna’s House construction breaks ground in Kelowna

Moving forward on temporary housing facility for KGH out of town patient family members

Vancouver Canucks’ Elias Pettersson ‘feeling good’ after concussion

Rookie is back practising after being sidelined by Florida defenceman Mike Matheson

UPDATED: 34 rescued off whale watching boat in Georgia Strait

Tour company says vessel experienced some kind of mechanical issue

Most Read