It is important to have the appropriate rescue gear for any ice related emergencies. There are too many risks involved in these kinds of situations. The main components of a professional ice rescue equipment package are a sled, a reach pole and a throw bag. However, there are other accessories and components that you should have handy during an ice rescue emergency. Many of these accessories are included when you buy a complete rescue gear package. Here is list of some of the most important accessories to be prepared with during an ice rescue mission.
Personal Floatation Devices
PFDs are personal floatation devices and are a staple for any ice rescue emergency. They help both the victim and the rescuer stay afloat by adding buoyancy. The victim is then able to hold onto the floatation device while they kick their feet rigorously to try to heat up their body and to avoid hypothermia.
Carabineers can be used for many things during an ice rescue emergency. They can be used to attach throw lines harnesses, floatation devices, ice screws, sleds, slings and so much more. A professional company like Ice Rescue Systems in Colorado have actually color coded all of their products, including their carabineers. This helps to ensure each carabineer is used as it is intended.
Ice Awls and Grips
Ice awls are very essential to have in your ice rescue gear kit. They can be used to pierce into the ice allowing a grip for the rescue respondent to pull themselves across the ice or aid in pulling out a victim from the water. Ice awls are plastic sheaths with an ice pick inside that retracts when the sheath is shoved into the ice. Awl grips are the foam grips that go on the outside of the plastic sheath giving it a better grip while being easier on the hands.
A rescuer trying to scale across the ice to a victim must be wearing ice cleats on their shoes. These can be retrofit onto your protective boots adding exceptional grip on the ice. The added grip can provide an immense amount of leverage when trying to hoist a heavy person out of freezing cold water. Victims who have been exposed to the water too long are like dead weight because they may have been experiencing symptoms of hypothermia. Ice is slippery, of course, so any amount of grip and leverage you can have on the ice will make your efforts more effective.
A rescue responder must not try to rescue a victim during an ice rescue emergency unless they are fully prepared and equipped with a dry suit and other rescue gear. Otherwise, the rescuer is also at risk of injury or hypothermia. A dry suit is insulated, so it should provide the protection needed from the freezing water. It also is virtually a personal floatation device as it has buoyancy in order to help the responder stay afloat if they have to enter the water to rescue a victim.