The Use of Airboats in Ice and Water Rescue Emergencies

Issue 3 and Volume 157.

By Robert Dummett During four months of the year, almost every fire department north of the Mason-Dixon Line that has a body of water within its response area is faced with the daily possibility of being called to perform ice rescue operations. During the rest of the year, in the absence of ice, departments are confronted with the race against time and hypothermia during water rescue operations. Most departments have some plan for conducting cold water/ice rescue operations. However, lack of funding and limited training can severely limit resources and the experience needed to perform such rescues successfully. Because of a lack of funding, some departments have had to resort to rudimentary methods of performing ice rescues, while those with more extravagant budgets have some of the best equipment on the market. Regardless of the equipment used in an ice rescue operation, personnel safety and time are the two greatest…

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