COLD WATER RESCUE RAFT DEMONSTRATED, 24 Feb 2002
Thin ice and chilly Keweenaw Bay waters can prove treacherously lethal to unsuspecting fishermen hoping to land a lake trout during the cold winter months. And, just one small step too many by a youngster playing on the ice can result in a frigid plunge into unfriendly and very wet territory.
The Baraga Fire Department, which has purchased a cold-water rescue raft to help save the lives of those who find themselves quite literally in over their heads, conducted practice life saving missions near the shore of the bay on Sunday, February 24th.
The Ottawa Sportsmen's Club helped with the purchase of this raft by donating $1,000.00 to the fire department. Several of the club's members were on hand Sunday to watch the rescue raft being used in the practice life saving efforts, including President Emil Filpus and Vice President Joe Dyke.
Firemen took turns taking a plunge into the cold water while other firemen took turns manning the rescue raft with and without the use of an outboard motor. It was slow going without the motor as the ice had to be broken by the men's feet and raft paddles. The motor enabled them to speed things along and at times the raft acted much as an icebreaker would, cracking and displacing the ice at the bow.
The new cold-water rescue raft would most certainly be a welcome sight to anyone finding himself in this predicament. The O.C.S. is very pleased to have been a part in helping bring it to the community. And, watching these firemen in action, even though it was pretend action, was a reminder of the important role these guys play in our lives and the lives of our loved ones.
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