Next weekend, firefighters and rescue personnel can brush up on their ice rescue skills at an event called the Ice Rescue Conference and Education in Muskegon.
The event on Saturday, January 31, will have a trade show that highlights state-of-the-art gear including special suits from Mustang Survival (these are similar to the bright suits the fishermen on the TV show “Deadliest Catch” wear). The fire department will also spotlight its two hovercraft vehicles used for ice rescues.
The public can observe live demonstrations. The demos are called “Intro to Hovercraft Operations,” “U.S. Coast Guard Operations,” “Intro to Ice Rescue Equipment,” and “Basic Ice Rescue Techniques.
Jeff Hedges is the training officer with the North Muskegon Fire Department. He says fire departments are often the first responders with an ice rescue. Hedges says the majority of ice rescues in Michigan involve ice fisherman who have misjudged the ice conditions.