Monday, January 28, 2013

Mississauga Fire Department Rescue Training

Port Credit Marina Water, Ice Training Venue

The sunny, windless days this past weekend proved the perfect opportunity for Mississauga Fire Department to practice pulling each other out of the frigid Credit River waters.

And though these pictures show large burly men in full gear walking on the ice, please do not attempt this yourself. With temperatures fluctuating from sub-zero to balmy, ice conditions change rapidly. And the firemen were already on scene in case real rescue was needed; it may take them a bit longer to come pull you out.

Credit River at Snug Harbour restaurant views across Marina to Port Credit Lighthouse, Mississauga, ON.
Port Credit Lighthouse at Marina
The warm (for winter) weekend days drew dozens of visitors to the Port Credit waterfront, including the couple pictured feeding the ducks and gulls sunning themselves on the river ice. The frigid temperatures earlier in the week allowed the river to freeze solidly in shallower sections.

Group of firemen in safety gear inflate rescue boat at Port Credit Marina near Snug Harbour.
Fire Department Inflate Rescue Boat at Marina Port Credit
Wearing safety gear, the firemen open and inflate the boat to be used in practice rescue.
 Overheard: "Who put the boat away wet?"
[The building visible top right is Snug Harbour restaurant, currently closed for renovations. I've been informed re-opening is slated for February 21.]

Firemen probing ice thickness of Credit River at Snug Harbour, Mississauga, ON
Mississauga Firemen Testing Ice Thickness Credit River 
 While the boat is being inflated, two firemen walk across the ice to a previously-created hole, and the edge of the ice sheet. Behind them, interested onlookers watch from the pier outside Snug Harbour. As soon as the firemen began to cross the marina ice, the ducks and gulls took wing, though you can see the birds' tracks on the snow-covered ice.

Mississauga Fire Department launch inflatable boat from Port Credit Marina dock.
Inflatable Boat Port Credit Marina Dock
 Meanwhile, boat inflated, the firemen move it onto the ice, near the open water. The buildings center background (see One Port Street) are part of the (private) Port Credit Harbour Marina, slated for extensive redevelopment over the coming months and years.

See Inspiration Port Credit for aerial view of affected lands. The area pictured in this post is in the blue area between the red.

The blue railing, foreground, marks the end of the pier that separates the Credit River from the (public, city-owned) Credit Village Marina.

Kneeling on river ice, fireman uses rope with float to pull another fireman from Credit River.
Chilly Swim for Mississauga Firemen
Credit River water temperature is about 3C (36F), which, this day, is only a little warmer than the air temperature. The fireman kneeling on a sled on the ice hauls in a colleague, while the third fireman swims away from them, across the clear ice sheets.

Bright orange inflatable boat launched by Mississauga Fire Dept at Credit River in front of Snug Harbour restaurant.
Launching the Inflatable ~ Credit River 
One fireman swims away from the ice edge in preparation for a water rescue using the inflatable boat. To enter the open water of the river, most of the firemen knelt or crouched on the ice edge, then rolled over and slid into the water.

To the delight of onlookers, one fireman bravely stepped off the edge, and entered with a splash that gave him a good dunking, and sent a stream of icy water into his suit.

One fireman in orange inflatable boat pulling in two firemen from Credit River in winter.
Winter Water Rescue Training Mississauga Fire
 Snug Harbour patio pillars reflecting in Credit River are testament to the calm winds and water that provided a perfect opportunity for training exercises. Several different teams took part, as the training covered two sessions each day (Saturday and Sunday).

A Mallard Duck stands on river ice, Port Credit Marina Park, ignoring three firemen and a rescue boat, part of a training exercise.
Firemen? What Firemen? Mallard Preens on Credit River Ice.
All firemen safely ashore (or should it be 'on ice?), and inflatable pulled from the water. Intent on his preening, a Mallard ignores the activity behind it.

Following the weekend's ideal winter weather, Monday (today) saw early morning wet snow fall that turned to freezing rain and ice pellets before turning into rain. The forecast calls for  unseasonably warm temperatures for today through Wednesday, with heavy rains on Wednesday.

That means most of the ice will be gone, as will any snow, before the next freeze on Thursday. Keep in mind it takes many days of consistently below freezing temperatures to before ice is thick enough to support your weight.

For information about Mississauga Fire, see the City of Mississauga.