Fire agency’s drills prepare for worst
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.
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.