Benzie County First Responders Practice Ice Rescue Techniques

A man who fell through the ice on a northern Michigan lake is expected to be okay.

But it’s a reminder about always staying safe on the ice.

It all started when a man was riding his snowmobile on Lake Skegemog.

The Milton Township Fire Department says rescuers had to go more than 400 feet out on the lake to save him.

He was able to stand on his submerged snowmobile until rescuers made it out to him.

They say another victim was able to make it to shore.

Sunday, several first responders in Benzie County were out on the ice practicing for these types of situations.

In Sunday’s top story 9&10’s Taylor Jones was out on the ice seeing what first responders were practicing.

“The amount of people that are out ice fishing and doing sporting events on the ice, it’s not a matter of will it happen, it’s a matter of when and we try to be prepared as best we can,” says Calvin Dennis, first responder.

That’s why first responders in Benzie County were out on Betsie Bay in Frankfort practicing for an ice rescue.

They spent the first half of the day in the classroom and then the second half outside practicing what they learned.

“We start out with doing self-rescue, which is if you were to go out after a victim, we do it so the rescuers knows how to rescue themselves,” says Dennis.

They get time working with many of the tools they’ll use in a rescue such as boards, rope and boats.

“We will start out with the board. We go out without the board and we go in, get up to the patient in the water and the first guy up to it is actually the one securing it to the board. Then after that, the second rescuer is the one doing the hand signals and telling the shore crew what is going on,” says Dennis.

First responders say it’s important to know and practice these techniques, especially in northern Michigan.

“Just about every township in this county has lakes and rivers and things like that, so the potential of an ice rescue happening is going to be there for us. For the fire departments, it’s very important that we get together as a team, we train as a team and then when we do get the fluctuation in temperatures when the ice becomes very unsafe, we’re ready to respond to any type of incident,” says Steve Adams, first responder.