Fireside Reading

By John M. Malecky

Surface Ice Rescue

By Walt “Butch” Hendrick and Andrea Zaferes

Price: $31.95

200 pages, soft cover
Available from: Fire Engineering Books & Videos
Phone: 1-800-752-9764, Fax: 1-918-831-9555
Order No. 0-912212-85-3

This book is the only one I’ve come across that is totally dedicated to the subject. It is an intense, comprehensive book that is a must for any department that potentially faces such rescue situations.

Today the fire service has branched out into many specialties (haz mat, urban search and rescue, confined space, high angle and water rescue), and surface ice rescue, as you will learn from this book, is as specialized as you can get. Personnel trained in different aspects of ice rescue are separate entities within themselves when operating as a team at an incident. For instance, ice rescue divers are not the same as technicians. Tenders do not make rescues. They keep their attention on the technicians. Just as with haz mat, surface ice rescue has its awareness, operations, and technician levels.

The book starts with the statement that no ice is safe and then goes on in 19 chapters to cover preplanning response, levels of training, management, equipment, duties and responsibilities, communications, line tending, special situations, ice formations and types, the effects of cold on the human body, and drowning. There are study questions at the end of each chapter with answers for each at the end of the book. There is a reference section and an index but no glossary. I would like to see a glossary if there is a second printing or edition because many of the terms used are not readily defined.. I have no such training in this type of rescue and had trouble with some of the unfamiliar abbreviations used. In the same light, certain equipment is mentioned without benefit of an illustration so the reader can see exactly what it is.

The authors have trained more than 20,000 fire, police, EMS, Coast Guard, and dive team personnel within the past 25 years. They put great effort into this book and are very explicit about their techniques. Where many books may tell you to do or not to do something, these authors go a step further to explain the “why” behind much of their instruction. It is like a seasoned veteran teaching
his/her technique to an apprentice and a lot of what they have to tell may surprise you if you thought ice rescue was simply frozen water rescue.

This is yet another way that Fire Engineering is doing its part in training the fire service!

John M. Malecky is a 31-year veteran of the Bayonne (NJ) Fire Department and battalion chief with Battalion 2. He joined the department in 1970 and was named a lieutenant in 1987, a captain in 1994, and a battalion chief in 2000. He is author of Apparatus Deliveries in Fire Engineering.

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