Fire agency’s drills pre­pare for worst

The Detroit News - - METRO - BY ERIC BAERREN Morn­ing Sun

Shep­herd – James Uthe, a Shep­herd Tri-Township fire­fighter-paramedic was tread­ing the freez­ing wa­ter in a hole cut through 11-inch ice to a pond about 15-feet deep. Aaron Lloyd, an­other fire­fighter, clipped Uthe to a two-keeled boat.

Fire­fight­ers on shore pulled ropes and dragged the boat and Uthe out of the wa­ter and onto the rel­a­tive dry of ice.

Mis­sion ac­com­plished.

The mis­sion was an­nual train­ing for one of the worst imag­in­able sce­nar­ios, some­one who has fallen through the ice into freez­ing wa­ter.

“We hope we never have to do this in real life, but that’s why we train,” said Kevin Sal­is­bury, a lieu­tenant with the fire depart­ment and the train­ing of­fi­cer.

The depart­ment has sev­eral sets of the neo­prene wet­suits that Lloyd was decked out in for res­cue op­er­a­tions.

The depart­ment’s train­ing started with a class­room lec­ture.

Uthe showed a video and some slides, stop­ping at var­i­ous points to have a dis­cus­sion.

They cov­ered a va­ri­ety of top­ics but spent the most time dis­cussing how to care for some­one who has fallen into cold wa­ter. That in­cluded look­ing at some grue­some pic­tures of the dam­age frost­bite can in­flict.

Once fin­ished, they drove a cou­ple of the depart­ment’s ve­hi­cles to a pond on the north side of M-20.

There, they broke out the depart­ment’s wa­ter res­cue equip­ment to prac­tice res­cues.

Shep­herd Tri-Township Fire Depart­ment cov­ers the town­ships of Coe, Chippewa and Lin­coln. That in­cludes the vil­lage of Shep­herd.

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