Training puts Craig Fire/Rescue on thin ice |

Training puts Craig Fire/Rescue on thin ice

Tyler Spencer takes to the water to learn how to maneuver in a commander ice suit during ice rescue training, conducted Jan. 13 by Craig Fire/Rescue at Loudy Simpson Park.
Doug Slaight for Craig Fire/Rescue/courtesy

CRAIG — Volunteers at Craig/Fire Rescue plunged into the ice-cold water at Loudy-Simpson Pond during a training exercise Saturday, Jan. 13, and retired 20-year firefighting veteran Doug Slaight was on hand to take photos.

Craig Fire has three certified Ice Rescue Technicians with specialized expertise, but the entire department is trained to perform basic ice rescue skills, said Training Lieutenant Chris Mercer.

Instead of hiring outside experts, experienced firefighters do the training.

“Craig Fire uses internal trainers — technicians — to train our firefighters for many of the skills needed. The technicians go to outside training to receive and renew their certifications. Most activities are done on a voluntary basis without compensation,” Mercer said. “Craig Fire prides itself on being recognized statewide as having a very high standard of training. Craig Fire volunteered 3,120 hours of cumulative training in 2017.”

Though the team hasn’t had to perform any ice rescues in the past few years, “… we like to be prepared in case it does happen,” Mercer said.

Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or


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