By Jennifer Grigg
Jan. 27, 2012 – After lunch, we were back at the in-water site to practise our skills at entering the water and bringing the victim back to shore using the RDC (rapid deploy craft . . . I think that’s what RDC stands for. If not, I blame it on the frozen brain and offer my apologies to my instructors!), the floating stokes basket and the rescue line.
Jan. 27, 2012 – After lunch, we were back at the in-water site to
practise our skills at entering the water and bringing the victim back
to shore using the RDC (rapid deploy craft . . . I think that’s what RDC
stands for. If not, I blame it on the frozen brain and offer my
apologies to my instructors!), the floating stokes basket and the rescue
It was a great afternoon, despite the fact that my very last time in the water seemed to be the breaking point for my suit and I felt the icy water seeping in at the bottom of the zipper. Sure enough, when I took off the suit…it looked like I’d wet myself. Thank goodness I had dark jeans on and a dry pair on standby.
Once we had completed the evolutions for our go-and-row portion of the ice-water rescue training, we headed back to the hall to write our exam and do our knot test.
As soon as I got back to the hall, I grabbed my spare jeans and went to change. While silently praising myself for having the wherewithal to pack extra clothes, the air was abruptly sucked out of my balloon by the shocking realization that I had overlooked something. It hadn’t occurred to me that if my jeans got wet, chances were that other items of clothing underneath my jeans would get wet too . . .
And since I certainly hadn’t packed an extra pair of . . . unmentionables . . . and there was really NOTHING I could do about it now, I shrugged my shoulders and put the dry pair of jeans on. Oh, the challenges women face being members of the fire department . . . guys, you have no idea!
Our last evolution of the day was to perform a night walk on the ice, and of course, it had to be dark in order to do it. As one of our instructors explained to us, it takes about 20 minutes for your eyes to adjust to seeing properly in the dark. It wasn’t quite dark enough to go out, so it was decided that we should wait in the trailer to stay warm, since we were all suited up. After 10 or 15 minutes in the trailer, someone suggested we turn the lights out so that we wouldn’t have the 20-minute adjustment to night vision.
So there we were, standing in the trailer, in the dark, with only the glow of the heater for light. A funny thought struck me: it felt like we were being incubated! Ten of us in ice-water gear, standing in the dark, with a heater on, waiting to be let out when the time was right. The situations you find yourself in . . . only in the fire service!
Overall, I found it to be similar to the dive-rescue training that I had gotten in the past, except more in depth and with new tools and techniques. It was a fantastic course and I highly recommend it. Kudos to all the instructors for a great training experience.