Firefighters train for ice rescue

A firefighter traverses weak pond ice on a pontoon sled during an ice rescue drill Sunday.

Updated March 10

Aquinnah and West Tisbury firefighters held a training drill for ice rescues on Lagoon Pond Sunday. Survival suits and a pontoon sled were among the types of equipment used to reach West Tisbury Fire Lt. Eric Medeiros, who served as a mock victim. Aquinnah Fire Chief Simon Bollin and West Tisbury Fire Chief Manuel Estrella III both said the drill went well. 

“I thank West Tisbury for putting it on,” Chief Bollin said. “They always do a good job.”

Given above-freezing temperatures, Chief Bollin said, he was impressed the West Tisbury Fire Department was able to locate any ice on the Vineyard. 

“We had what we like to call ‘crappy’ ice,” West Tisbury Fire Lt. Brynn Schaffner said, “which is perfect. That’s the kind of ice that someone would actually fall through.”

For a couple of new firefighters, Chief Bollin said, among the lessons learned were just how cold the water feels, even in a survival suit. “It’s a lot better to realize that now then when you’re in an emergency,” he said. 

Updated to correct who served as a victim for the training.