David Paulk
Ohio.com correspondent

FAIRLAWN: Fire Department Chief Russ Hose said it’s rare they have to rescue people from freezing waters.  But they still have to be prepared.

That’s why they had to complete an ‘ice training’ session. The training, which is held once a year, teaches fireman how to rescue someone who falls through the ice.

Hose said the training entailed fireman sharing the role of victim and rescuer.   The “victims” dawn thermal suits, dive in the water, and wait for their fellow fireman to save them. Hose said he can’t remember a time when they actually had to use the training, but he doesn’t ignore its relevance.

Another important function of the training is making sure the thermal suits are in working order.

“In the event someone was to fall through the ice we have these suits they can put on,” Hose said.

He said the department had to wait for the ice to get thick enough to participate in the training. Once the conditions were right they drilled a hole in the ice to get started.

“A lot of time you will get ice that is an inch or two inches thick and kids will go out on it and fall through it,” Hose said.

The fire department is also getting 24 new breathing tanks and masks to replace the old ones, which expire in 2016, said Hose.

Breathing tanks are simply an important tool of the trade for fireman.  Hose said they use them whenever there might be unhealthy atmospheric conditions—not just fires. 

The city is purchasing them using a $148,000 grant, but it is still obligated to pay $7,500 of the cost.

Hose said the $7,500 was included with this year’s budget plan. He admits he kind of gambled when he included the city’s cut of the funds.

“I budget it last year with the hopes of getting the grant,” Hose said.