Albany Fire Department urging people to be cautious on ice after ice water rescue

Emily De Vito
Updated: January 23, 2020 11:09 PM
Created: January 23, 2020 10:28 PM

ALBANY – The Albany Fire Department is reminding people to be cautious when stepping onto ice. It comes after they had to rescue someone who fell through Washington Park Lake.

It happened on Tuesday and the Rescue Squad with the Albany Fire Department was able to act quick.


“From the time of dispatch to the time they pulled them out, so I'm talking the time they left this fire house to Washington Park Lake, in seven minutes they pulled him out,” said Firefighter Stephen McCauley.

While on route to an ice water rescue call, members of the rescue squad begin to suit up in what they call a mustang suit.

"They do look like an extra hefty bag on them, they're very effective as far as cold water goes they are thermally insulted with the fleece lining,” explained McCauley. “Within that gear there are two handle spikes they're spring loaded ice picks. They’re crawling out on their body so they can spread their weight evenly as opposed to being straight down and giving full force on one."

While those suits were used for the Washington Park Lake water rescue, every water rescue is different. McCauley has been on the Albany Fire Department Rescue Squad for 15 years. He said they try to make the rescues as easy as possible.

“If we have the opportunity to offer the victim a self-rescue right out of the gate we can take this we call this our throw bag and we'll throw this right to the victim have them grab on,” said McCauley.

If by chance someone does fall in the water you’re asked to remain calm. Firefighters said the hole left in Washington Park Lake is so large because the victim was thrashing and trying to self-rescue.

“The best thing they could do is get ahold of the most solid piece of ice and kick you don't want to pull as much as you want to kick and try and get your belly up to where you can spread your weight out evenly,” explained McCauley.

Ice thickness guidelines say there should be a minimum of four inches of ice formed if you plan on walking onto it.

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