Ice Rescue Training

Photos by Harold Alexander, 2008

Ice Rescue Training -- Step One 

Cut a hole in the ice.  On the day we trained, the ice was more than 30 inches thick, so strong it would not break, even under the weight of a truck. Tony Simons and Justin Whitesell of Larimer County Emergency Services kindly volunteered to make a hole for us while we were in class.  They spent more than four hours cutting a hole in the ice with a chainsaw. Then we had to push the plug of ice down to get it out of the hole so we could get to the water.



Ice Rescue Training -- Step Two

We're going to need more weight.

Ice Rescue Training -- Step Three

Still more weight, and we're finally getting it to move.

Ice Rescue Training -- Step Four

The plug of ice is now down and slid out of the way under the ice shelf.  When we've finished our training, we'll float the plug back out and into position, so the ice can refreeze and seal the hole we made.


Ice Rescue Training -- Step Five

Get into an ice rescue suit (one size fits all).

Ice Rescue Training -- Step Six

Help may be necessary in getting the zipper all the way up.

Ice Rescue Training -- Step Seven

Get hooked up to the ropes handled by the people doing Shore Support.  No ice rescuer goes out on the ice without at least one backup in an ice rescue suit to help them if it becomes necessary.


Ice Rescue Training -- Step Eight

Start out on the ice.  Shore Support makes verbal contact with the victim, talking to them and reassuring them while the ice rescuer begins to make their way to the victim. The ice rescuer shuffles to spread their weight out as much as possible. The day of our training, the ice was too thick to break, but we practiced as though it could break under us.


Ice Rescue Training -- Step Nine

Crawl to spread your weight out more.

Ice Rescue Training -- Step Ten

Approach at an angle, to avoid breaking the ice in front of the victim, and roll the last few feet to spread your weight out even more.


Ice Rescue Training -- Step Eleven

Ice rescue suits are amazingly buoyant. The hardest part is keeping your feet down.

Ice Rescue Training -- Step Twelve

Come up behind the victim and secure the rescue sling around their chest.

Ice Rescue Training -- Step Thirteen

Right hand up means you're good to go.

Ice Rescue Training -- Step Fourteen



Ice Rescue Training -- Step Fifteen

Pulled by Shore Support, ice rescuer and victim slide up onto the ice to safety.

Ice Rescue Training -- Step Sixteen

Keep practicing.  We'll train again in the spring, when the ice is thinner and we can practice additional methods of rescue, including the use of the ice rescue sled we purchased last year with funds donated by Kay Hood in memory of her husband Ken, a longtime member of the department, and additional funds raised by our Special Duty Responders.  In the meantime, we're ready for an incident on the ice, though we hope everyone will be cautious and make all this practice unnecessary.



Warning Sirens

For the safety of the community, Crystal Lakes Associations has evacuations sirens posted throughout the Association. The evacuation siren in case of failure of the dam is located near the Wapiti Mailsheds to cover the floodplain area and sounds like this whoop sound:

MP3 audio file [163.5 KB]

Property owners in the floodplain should evacuate immediately if they hear this siren; all other property owners should remain on their lots, to keep the roads clear for those evacuating the floodplain.


Sirens in ALL parts of the association will sound the fire evacuation siren if a wildfire threatens the community -- it sounds like this alert sound:

MP3 audio file [168.6 KB]

ALL property owners should evacuate IMMEDIATELY if they hear this siren. Emergency personnel will be on hand to help direct evacuating property owners out of the area.

Where to Find Us:

Crystal Lakes Fire Protection District (CLFPD)

237 Blackfoot Road

Red Feather Lakes, CO 80545

970-881-3521 (Phone)

970-881-2085 (Fax)


Crystal Lakes Volunteer Fire Department (CLVPD)

237 Blackfoot Road

Red Feather Lakes, CO 80545

970-881-3521 (Phone)

970-881-2085 (Fax)


Click here for a map.

How to Contact Us

For more information, feel free to contact us by telephone, email, or by using our contact form. We look forward to hearing from you!


CL FIRES is dedicated to education, planning, and support in the areas of fire prevention and safety, wildland fire mitigation, and personal safety in the greater Crystal Lakes Community of Larimer County, Colorado.


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