USFS to host ice safety training, demo at glacier Visitor Center

Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center will be hosting a Capital City Fire and Rescue presentation and demonstration on ice safety from 1:30-3 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 11.

The program will begin in the visitor center auditorium with a video and slide show illustrating the effects of cold water immersion and rescue techniques. An outdoor demonstration will follow with a rescue from an icy pond adjacent to the visitor center.

“This program is aimed at keeping people safe in winter,” John Neary, visitor center director, said. “Being prepared and knowing how to save yourself and those around you in case you fall through ice is a really important skill.”

CCFR special team Captains George Reifenstein and Dave Boddy will conduct the training and rescue demonstration along with members of the department and volunteers. As part of the indoor training, the rescuers will show a video featuring Canadian researcher Dr. Gordon Geisbrecht, also known as “Professor Popsicle” for his cold water immersion studies. In the video, Geisbrecht intentionally skis into a hole cut into a frozen lake and describes his reaction to the onset of hypothermia. Another aspect of the program will be a description of some of the hazardous pond sites around Juneau where adults, children and pets can get into trouble with thin ice.

“We are hosting this valuable session for the public to let people know the dangers of being on Mendenhall Lake and other places that appear safe but harbor truly hazardous conditions for the unwary,” Laurie Craig, visitor center naturalist, said. “We are grateful to Capital City Fire and Rescue staff for sharing their expertise on Saturday afternoon.”


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