Mar 22, 2023 | By: Justin Othoudt

Northwoods Experience: Cass County Holds 20th Annual Multi-Agency Ice Rescue Training Exercise

As an icy Minnesota winter begins to turn into a slightly warmer Minnesota spring, ice around the state is beginning to melt. With weather changes on the way, emergency response organizations around the state gathered on the waters of Cass Lake for the 20th annual Multi-Agency Ice Rescue Training Exercise.

“What they’re learning is the newest and greatest ways to ice rescue,” explained Cass County Sheriff Bryan Welk. “And it also gives them a chance to see new equipment, new ways and strategies to overcome the elements.”

The day saw over 70 participants undergo several tests in order to ensure that they could save not only others but themselves from an emergency situation. These tests included a test to pull oneself out of the water without the aid of tools, one test where one pulls themselves out of the water with the assistance of ice picks, another which saw responders rescue another person with the aid of a flotation device, and one exercise which saw responders using an RDC (rapid deployment craft) to save an individual on the ice.

While this event was open to the public and offered an exciting glimpse into the world of emergency responders, at the end of the day, the training exercise ultimately serves as an important resource that was started to help save lives across the state.

“It’s key to have this training and keep up on the training with the fire departments and multi-agencies,” said Cass County Deputy Bob Landreville, “because you never know if we have some big catastrophe in the county we might have to call many agencies to help us. So that’s why we do this ice rescue.”

The event also saw K-9 units engage in their own ice rescue training so that they can serve as four-legged ice rescuers.

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