▶️Firefighters train to rescue people, pets who fall through Central Oregon ice


Bend Fire and Rescue is reminding the public to stay off the ice, whether it be frozen ponds, canals or river.

The warning applies to pets, too, and the people who may go out on the ice to try to rescue their four legged friends.

Less than two weeks ago, firefighters pulled a Bernedoodle named Daisy from the ice at Discovery Park.

“Daisy, on New Year’s Eve day, decided to take a walk on the ice and chase some Canada geese. Well, unfortunately, the ice was thin and Daisy fell in,” said Candace Rulan of Bend. “We didn’t know what to do so we called 911. The fire department came. Some nice guy got dressed in a wetsuit and rescued Daisy.”

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Bend Fire responds to dogs that fall through ice because they know pet owners are likely to try to rescue their furry friend. 

Without the proper equipment and know how, such efforts often make things worse.

“The keys that they can do to help us is stay in contact with that victim; visual contact, voice contact. Let them know that somebody’s there. If there’s something somebody can throw, a rope, they can throw that to secure that victim,” said Jeremy South, Bend Fire & Rescue training captain. “Otherwise we ask them to please not go on the ice because of the inherent danger. We end up with multiple victims instead of single victim at that point.”


All of the Bend Fire Department’s recently hired firefighters receive ice rescue training. They take turns being the victim unable to get out of the ice they’ve broken through, and the rescuer sent to extract them.

“If we can get to them safely, that’s what we are going to do because by the time we get there they are definitely tired, they’ve been out there for a little bit. They are cold, could be lethargic,” said Melissa Steele, a fire inspector. “So what we are practicing here is a firefighter is tethered. They go out to the victim and then crews on shore are pulling them out.”

Even wearing dry suits, gloves and hoods, the firefighters got cold within a matter of minutes. Imagine how cold it would be without all that protective equipment.

Because of Central Oregon’s variable winter conditions — it gets cold and then it warms up — we get a lot of what’s called rotten ice.

Two inches of clear ice is stronger than four inches of rotten ice.

So be careful. It’s probably best to stay off if you don’t know about ice.


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