Just another cold day at the office

>Here on the Great Lakes, venturing out onto the frozen lakes is a hallmark of many poplular winter activities. Whether it be ice fishing, riding snowmobiles or simply exploring new territory, being out on the ice is a staple of local recreation.

Ice, though, is an ever-changing surface and a person can rapidly find themselves in a full-blown life-or-death situation. Based on survivor accounts, falling through the ice is an experience that if you are lucky enough to survive, you will never forget.

(Left: Ice rescue personnel from Coast Guard Station Cleveland Harbor provide instructions to members of the Cleveland Fire Dept., Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2010. Station ice-rescue personnel conducted training with members of the Cleveland Fire Dept. in order to streamline joint-rescue efforts. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class George Degener.)

Coast Guard Ice-rescue crews from Station Cleveland Harbor, Ohio, conducted training with the Cleveland Fire Dept. Feb. 3rd in order to pass on their expertise and standardize practices in the local area. Crews at small boat stations throughout the Great Lakes are well trained in ice-rescue techniques, and constantly practice those techniques to maintain that proficiency. As recognized experts, Coast Guard crews will cross train with other agencies to streamline rescue efforts in the event of a joint rescue.

(Right: Petty Officer 2nd Class Tim Lieb, [in the orange survival suit] an ice rescue instructor from Coast Guard Station Cleveland Harbor provides instructions to members of the Cleveland Fire Dept. during ice-rescue training, Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2010. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class George Degener.)

One outstanding example of a successful joint operation was the rescue of more than 130 ice fishermen stranded in Western Lake Erie on February 7, 2009. Crews from multiple Coast Guard units including small boat stations, air stations, sector and district personnel worked seamlessly with local fire and law enforcement personnel to safely evacuate those that were stranded from the ice.

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