Fulton County first responders hold ice rescue simulation


A spillway right between the Northville Lake and the Sacandaga Lake in Fulton county is an area first responders say isn't stable when its frozen. That makes it the perfect testing site for an ice rescue simulation.

"We're comin' buddy, hold on," said a rescuer to a victim.

Five different first responder agencies are participating. They often find themselves working together. Fire officials say that camaraderie can trim down their rescue times. They say when someone is trapped in freezing water, the clock is ticking.

"A good rescue time would be within 30 minutes, after that the victim's chances go down exponentially," says Assistant Chief Raph Palcobic of the Caroga Lake Fire Company.

"The water is at a certain temperature, hypothermia can set in very quick so that person is very vulnerable,” says Chief Chris Mraz of the Mayfield Fire Department.

There are two courses being conducted, one of for beginners, one for those with experience. But officials say you're never too seasoned to learn something new.

When they go out on the ice, they're on all fours.

"Displacing your body weight on unstable thin ice allows us to advance further to our victim,” Palcobic says.

And the rest is all done through hand signals and coordination by a team of at least 10 people to save just one person. Officials say if you are ever trapped in the water, you can try to pull yourself out, but either way, you should still call 911.

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