A donation of ice rescue equipment has furthered the goals of the Lakeville Fire Department to offer quick and safe response to people in a crisis.


A donation of ice rescue equipment has furthered the goals of the Lakeville Fire Department to offer quick and safe response to people in a crisis.
Fire Chief Bob Boogertman said that at least once a year, there is some incident on the ice of Lake Wallenpaupack where someone needs to be rescued. Recreational use of the lake is increasing by the year, and it is only a matter of time, he noted, that specialized equipment will be required.
Recently, approximately $4,000 worth of tools and gear was contributed to Lakeville Fire Department from Wallenpaupack Lake Estates (WLE). They received two “Gumby” suits, two spools of rope, each containing 300 feet, and in ice rescue sled with paddles. Tafton Fire & Rescue also donated two more Gumby suits. These red suits, covering the firefighter from head to toe, are meant to offer protection from hypothermia and keep them buoyant. They also have a long-handled tool with a claw-like device at the end, which can grab on to a person in trouble.
Boogertman said they hope to acquire additional suits and rope as well as an enclosed trailer and row boat with a motor. The red rescue sled can be use as a raft, to paddle out in open water, or can be towed by snowmobile. The trailer would house the equipment and be towed by the company rescue truck, which lacks room for any more gear.
Lakeville volunteer firefighters used their own snowmobiles in the early morning of Feb. 13, assisting in the recovery of two fatal snowmobile crash victims at Epply Island.
The Chief said they have no intention of pursuing a dive team. He said that Ledgedale Dive Team is in place and well able to serve. If an incident requires going under water, Boogertman said that the dive team would be called to assist.
Tafton Dive Team, which disbanded for a short while, is in the process of reassembling their team, said Tafton Assistant Chief Nick Spinelli. They have five new dive team members who will be going through the necessary training this summer.
Lakeville Fire Department, which organized in 1979, covers most of the northern side of Lake Wallenpaupack.
Boogertman said that they had 14 members at an ice rescue class held at Tafton Fire & Rescue, the last weekend in January. The ice rescue equipment from WLE was used in the training, and at that time, WLE said Lakeville could borrow the gear. Lakeville offered to house it.
Rocky Kizer, who is a Lakeville firefighter, is also the chief of the Public Safety Department at WLE. He stated he originally asked the WLE Board several years ago to buy the equipment, for use by WLE safety officers in an emergency. The equipment was never used. Kizer and WLE Community Manager John Carney recently asked the WLE Board to contribute the equipment to Lakeville Fire Department.
It was more appropriate for the gear to be in the hands of emergency rescue personnel, Kizer said. Additionally, Lakeville will be able to use it not only for rescues in the WLE area, but anywhere in the Lakeville Fire Department service region.
Another ice rescue class is planned in late April, Boogertman said. The Fire Chief expressed his gratitude to WLE for their generous gift.
Last June, Lakeville Fire Department dedicated a fire substation at WLE.