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Bret Hanna
Bret Hanna
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United Fire Authority Completes Timely Training

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The Salt Lake Valley’s Unified Fire Authority underwent some very timely cold water and ice rescue training yesterday. About a dozen UFA ice rescue team members used chainsaws to cut two large holes through pond ice, so they could spend three hours practicing rescues of people who have broken through the ice. Timely training, given that a who woman lost control of her car on December 28th ended up in a retention pond near a freeway intersection in Salt Lake County. She did not survive, but rescuers were able to recover her body to give her family a measure of closure. Then, on February 5th, a minivan with three women inside sank in a frozen pond adjacent to Interstate 80. All three were rescued.

The training involved the trainees taking turns immersing themselves in 8 feet of nearly freezing water and taking turns pulling themselves out of the water. In addition, they worked on multi-person rescues and rescues of unconscious people. The major concerns for those that end up in cold water, because of car accidents or pet rescue attempts and the like, are hypothermia and drowning. A person in cold water loses core body heat at a rate 25 percent faster than someone who is exposed to cold air. After 15 minutes of exposure, a person is at risk for loss of consciousness and muscle control so rescue response time is the most critical factor in a successful live rescue of cold water victims.