This past February, firefighters with the Bayonne Fire Department and a number of firefighters from the Paterson Fire Department made their way out to Garret Mountain Reservation in Woodland Park New Jersey to be trained as Ice Rescue Technicians, and to become qualified Ice Rescue Trainers.
Trainees made their way onto the thin ice of Barbour Pond, under the experienced guidance of trainers from a Sparta New Jersey based company called Firefighter-One. The firemen, wearing thermal protective rescue suits, cut holes in the ice to prepare for simulated rescue activities. Many firefighters took turns being the mock victim in the hole, while the rescuers worked a number of rescue techniques on the ice and from the shore to pull the victim to safety.
The training went on for five days, and was funded by a Federal Port Security Grant. Two days of classroom activity was followed by three days on the ice. The firefighters involved were issued Ice Rescue Training Credentials giving the Fire Department the ability to further train other members at no additional cost.
In the weeks that followed, the newly credentialed Bayonne Fire Department Ice/Rescue instructors provided classroom training to approximately fifty on-duty members of the Bayonne Fire Department. An elite group of Bayonne Firefighters, under the direction of the new trainers and with the assistance of volunteer members of the Byram Fire Department, gathered in Byram Township New Jersey at Cranberry Lake for four days of ice-rescue training on the ice. A total of twenty-two, on-duty firefighters from Bayonne, were trained to a higher level as Ice Rescue Technicians.
The rescuers became proficient with ice-rescue techniques, and were given further opportunity for hands-on experience with their cache of water rescue equipment funded by a separate (AFG) Assistance to Firefighters Grant.
Mayor Mark Smith: “ “ Director Jason O’Donnell: “ “Chief Rogers: “Each winter we generally hear reports from across the State of people breaking through thin ice. This past winter, two children lost their lives on Budd Lake, and in February – an adult lost his life on Iosco Lake in Bloomingdale when the ice failed. Ice rescue training for Bayonne Firefighters is the natural progression of our Water Rescue initiative that has been ongoing for the last few years. Our water rescue initiative paid off during Superstorm Sandy, as properly trained and equipped Firefighters rescued over 100 people by boat from their flooded vehicles and homes. It is our responsibility to be prepared, and Ice Rescue Training will ready our firefighters to protect our citizens from the hazards of ice formation along our shores, near docks and marinas, at waterfront commercial sites, and community parks.”
Pictures Attached: Group Shot
L-R: Captain Howard Frank, Captain Jack Lopez, FF Al Liani, FF Ted Wolf,
FF Tom Reynolds, FF Roger Nunez