NEWCOMB - In early February, members of the Newcomb Volunteer Fire Department slid into cold water rescue suits and jumped into the icy water of Lake Julia in Newcomb - just for practice.
The Newcomb VFD has been participating in cold water rescue training for more than seven years. The recent refresher was taught by DEC Forest Ranger Del Jeffries of Newcomb.
With the presence of several bodies of water in Newcomb, Fire Chief Mark Yandon insists the department be prepared for any accidents that may happen near or in those waters. Participants go through both classroom teaching and practical rescues during their training.
Newcomb sees the occasional snowmobile accident on their lakes and is prepared to rescue anyone who may fall through the ice.
"Unfortunately, we will never know what a real rescue feels like until we have one," said Yandon. "We can't practice without the suits on."
With talk of the growth in local trail systems, such training is becoming more valuable given the increased snowmobile traffic, Yandon said.
Yandon spoke of the importance of cold water rescue in areas where snowmobiling is popular.
"Being trained will enhance our ability to save a life," he said.