If you were driving on Lakeside Blvd on Saturday, you may have noticed the big fire truck and the abundance of people dressed in red wetsuits on Kinsmen Lake. Not to worry though, this wasn’t an alien invasion, it was an ice rescue training exercise for the Strathmore Fire Department. 

Strathmore Fire Department Capitan Eric Alexander explained they like to get out at this time of year to refresh their ice rescue skills. 

“We make sure all of our equipment in good working order and it gives us the opportunity to knock that rust off.” 

Alexander continued to explain that it is always important to know the skills of how to rescue someone who has fallen through the ice. He said that when it comes to thin ice, a few minutes can be the difference between serious injury or worse.  

“We'll be able to perform rescues more quickly and efficiently because the training is fresh in our minds, we also do another training session in the dead of winter, and then one more in the spring when the ice starts to melt and becomes a risk to the community.”  

New members that haven’t yet taken the training were the lucky ones that were to be rescued from the lake, taking a plunge in the icy water in a bright red wetsuit.  

“I think there were seven or eight of our new recruits that partook in the ice rescue training. So, we had spent a couple of hours doing theory on the Tuesday night prior to this rescue training. They went out on Saturday with all of the protective gear for the first time and actually went out on the ice and performed rescue scenarios with other firefighters dressed in protective equipment.” 

A few curious speed walkers stopped their stroll around the lake to watch the training, where good-humoured laughter and a few chilly shrieks could be heard from the lake.  

“We absolutely love training, getting together and teaching the newer members of our team and the skills we gain from doing this,” Alexander concluded.