The sun was out Sunday afternoon, Feb. 6 in the North Okanagan. It was a balmy +7 degrees Celsius.
Vernon Fire Rescue Services members were more than willing under those early February conditions to take a plunge into the icy waters of Vernon’s Swan Lake.
It was all part of a weekend of ice and cold water safety training for about a dozen firefighters.
“On occasion, our firefighters are called to assist with shoreline events or emergencies involving lakes, creeks or culverts,” said deputy Fire Chief Alan Hofsink. “We’ve had a couple of calls to help rescue people near water and this training will help provide valuable safety information for rescuers if they are called to work on ice or near bodies of water.”
Those taking the training spent eight hours Saturday in a classroom before heading out to put their newly learned skills to use in Swan Lake under the watchful eye of Jordan Thompson from Smithers-based Raven Rescue, though Thompson lives in Kamloops.
“I go all over B.C., all over Alberta, wherever Raven Rescue wants me to go and I do swift water and ice rescue,” said Thompson.
The firefighters spent time in the morning and afternoon with Thompson working out of a hole they cut in the lake.
Personnel were a tad late for the afternoon session as they stopped to help an individual whose car had flipped on its side near the Highway 97 Swan Lake bypass bridge on their way to training.