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Orange Firefighters Train for Ice Rescue

Orange Firefighters Train for Ice Rescue

Winter Increases the Danger of Cold-Water Drowning and Orange Firefighters Will Be Ready

Orange firefighters spent their weekend honing their skills at pulling drowning victims out of icy ponds and streams across town. “Orange is speckled with lakes, ponds, streams, pools and other water hazards,” said Fire Chief Vaughan Dumas. “Winter weather makes the water more dangerous, and our teams must be ready to rescue anyone who gets in trouble.”

Pulling someone out of an icy pond is a lot different than jumping into a warm swimming pool, said Lt. Dan Abrams, departmental training officer. For the victim, the shock of falling in can be fatal. If not, it only takes about 10 minutes for the cold water to disable even a strong swimmer.

“As the primary rescue agency in town, we’ve used donations we’ve received to invest in the equipment needed for ice-water rescue,” said Abrams. “Every year, we practice to make sure we’re ready.”
On Sunday, firefighters used Wright’s Pond to practice. After a classroom session earlier in the week, firefighters donned special cold-water suits and used ropes, sleds and other equipment to practice getting the job done. Whether on the shore or in the water, everybody had a job, said Abrams, and got to practice it in winter weather.

“Firefighters today respond to a wide variety of hazards, not just fires,” said Dumas. “We are ready to serve the people of Orange in any emergency, whether it’s a fire, a car wreck, a hazardous materials spill or a cold-water drowning. We have to practice responding to all of these emergencies and Saturday was our time to practice cold-water emergencies.”

The Orange Volunteer Fire Association provides fire and other hazard protection to residents and businesses in Orange and, through mutual aid, surrounding towns. Members receive training in fire suppression, rescue, hazardous materials response, homeland security issues and other emergency services.

Operating strictly with revenues from fundraisers and donations, the Orange Volunteer Fire Department is one of the remaining few all-volunteer incorporated fire departments in Connecticut. Active members are on-call to serve the community on a 24-hour/seven-day basis, responding from stations on Orange Center Road and Boston Post Road.

In addition, the fire company offers public education services including lectures, demonstrations and training. For information about membership, donations or public education, call (203) 891-4703, click on or find us on Facebook.

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