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Wildwood Fire Department - 4400 New Jersey Avenue - Wildwood, New Jersey 08260
Wildwood City Fire Department Hosts
Ice Rescue Training
February 22, 2015

While the recent frigid weather has not been conducive to taking a dip in the icy waters surrounding Wildwood, 27 local firefighters took to the ice on Sunday February 22nd to learn surface ice rescue techniques. Under a gray sky and temperatures hovering in the mid-30s, fire personnel from Wildwood, North Wildwood, Cape May, Villas, Green Creek, Erma and Ocean City converged at the Wildwood Marina to learn the ropes of saving lives in winter conditions.

According to Deputy Fire Chief Daniel Speigel, the recent rash of cold weather was key in scheduling the training. Ice on the water of the marina was as thick as 8 inches in some areas. Chainsaws were used to cut holes on the surface to allow “victims” clad in thermal, waterproof suits to enter the 36 degree water. “The weather has been very cooperative,” he said. “As bad as it's been for everything, it's been good for this kind of situation. It allows us to do something that we haven't been able to do because the ice hasn't been this thick in recent years.” Under the watchful eyes of instructors from Safety and Survival Training, LLC, firefighters crawled across the ice to make their way to their submerged “victim.” Teams on shore tossed lifelines to the men in the water and waited as rescue personnel attached lines. Once rigged, “victims” were then pulled across the ice and onto the safety of the shore. “There are people who do venture out on the ice in this kind of weather,” Speigel said. “The Wildwood Fire Department makes sure they are trained to handle any and all situations that arise. Fire departments no longer have firefighters, they have “all hazard responders”. Funding for the Ice Rescue equipment was made in part from “Safety Incentive Funds” from the cities Joint Insurance Fund.
The Fire Department was recently recognized and awarded the funds for previous safety initiatives which included sending all the firefighters to a comprehensive physical examination free of charge through Deborah's “Captain Buscio Program” and also updating more than 40 Standard Operating Policies within the department.

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