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Conservation Officers Receive Ice Rescue Training

February 11, 2009

NJ DEP Division of Fish and Wildlife Conservation Officers in the Central Region recently completed training on surface ice rescue and cold weather exposure. The training was conducted in response to recent incidents in which fisherman have fallen through the ice. Officers typically patrol on frozen lakes and rivers to perform inspections and can find themselves in a situation requiring a rapid, safe and proper response.

The training was a joint exercise with Millstone Fire Department, Hope Fire Department, Allentown First Aid Squad, Atlantic Highlands First Aid Squad, and Keyport First Aid Squad. Participants were instructed on identifying and treating symptoms of cold water exposure, techniques on self rescuing if they fall through the ice and how to safely rescue individuals who have fallen through the ice.

The training was conducted at Lake Assunpink where just last year a father and son died when they fell through the ice while ice fishing.

Conservation Officer Shannon Martiak led the training which consisted of a classroom lecture and an exercise where rescuers suited up in ice rescue suits and were placed in the frigid waters of the ice covered lake. This training gave the CO the knowledge to identify, treat, and rescue any victim that has fallen through the ice, including themselves should they inadvertently fall through.

Ice rescue training
Click to enlarge

Anyone walking across frozen lakes or rivers is reminded to check the thickness of the ice, which should be at least 6 inches for foot travel. Extra caution should be used on rivers which can have ice of varying thickness due to differing depths and currents. See page 15 of the 2009 Freshwater Fishing DIGEST for information on ice fishing regulations.

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Department of Environmental Protection
P. O. Box 402
Trenton, NJ 08625-0402

Last Updated: February 11, 2009