Lakewood EMS Receives Grant for Rescue Suits

January 29, 2014

The Lakewood Township Department of Emergency Services Unit (ESSU), 1555 Pine Street, has received a grant from the Fire House Subs Restaurant Foundation, Philadelphia, for four Stearns Cold Water and Ice Rescue Suits, and two Ice Rescue Harnesses, valued at $2,150.00.

A one-piece cold water and ice neoprene rescue suit, designed for rescue operations in extreme cold water and ice conditions, provides hypothermia protection, buoyancy and insulation from the elements.

Scott Carter, EMS supervisor, said, “The addition of this cold water rescue equipment will jointly benefit the response teams of the Lakewood Police, the EMS and Volunteer Squads of Lakewood, and Hatzolah; and enable emergency personnel to make a stronger emergency response to any water-related incident in Lakewood Township.”

With the addition of the new cold-water equipment to the two suits already in service by the Lakewood Police Department, rescuers will be able to work as a more diverse team, from the rescuer on the shore-line to sending out staff by boat or jet ski to get to the individuals in distress.

The suits allow the trained rescuer to enter either onto the ice or into the water without the risk of hypothermia, which begins as soon as an individual is exposed to any temperature below normal body temperature. Hypothermia is a challenge to rescuers because the person who is outside in the elements often will not respond to commands or follow instructions and may actually injure a rescuer because the brain shuts down to preserve key body functions.

Carter said, “The grant will allow us to standardize water response through our joint response teams with two suits placed in our Water Rescue Unit and two suits located in the two front line Township ambulances. These Cold Water Rescue Suits provide the medical staff with the ability to step into an environment that would have been detrimental to the rescuer in the past.

“The suits and harnesses will allow the rescuers more time on task to retrieve someone who is stranded in the cold water environment while maintaining an emergency backup team. They will also work in conjunction with the other water capabilities on the Emergency services support unit (ESSU) to provide high quality resuscitative care to individuals in a time of crisis.”

The goal according to Lakewood First Aid Captain Moe Heinemann is, “Be prepared for any request,” which includes educating the public to “stay out of the water unless you have the proper life jackets” and remember that “No ice is safe, no matter how cold it is.”

For more information, contact Scott Carter at 732-534-1835.
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