Training on ice

Becky Vargo • Jul 21, 2015 at 12:11 PM

They started at Harbor Island, then went to the Municipal Marina and finally out to Lake Michigan, said Sgt. Glen Bo of the Department of Public Safety.

Each shift of the department's officers will get a chance to do the training with three more sessions planned during the next few days, Bo said.

The department's water and ice rescue training officer, Clint Holt, said they used the different locations to work through easier to more challenging rescues.

“We worked off the flat ice first,” he said. “We did some extrications from the water” off Harbor Island.

Holt said the next challenge was to mimic a fall off a dock at the city marina and the challenges of working from above, using baskets and other equipment.

The most challenging training was working on the pack ice on Lake Michigan with very low visibility because of the heavy snow on Thursday afternoon. Holt said they used ladders to reach the steep areas at the lake side of the ice pack.

“Some of those elevations are from 10-20 feet,” he said.

Baskets shaped like a sled are also used out on the ice.

Anyone wishing to see this type of training will get an opportunity on Tuesday, Feb. 12, when the U.S. Coast Guard and other local emergency responders demonstrate ice rescue at Station Grand Haven. The training session is set to begin at 11 a.m. and can be viewed from the public park areas near the station.

The public will be allowed to park at the old diesel power plant across from Station Grand Haven, 601 S. Harbor Ave., for this event.

It is possible the location could be changed because of ice shifting. An alert will be placed on the Tribune's website (grandhaventribune.com) if that happens.

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