Water and ice rescue teams conduct rescue operations around the Island of Montréal and on any inland body of water within city limits. Three types of watercraft are typically used in water rescue operations, including a craft specially designed for use during winter. Rescue teams also have suits and equipment specifically adapted to rescue operations on water or ice. Stations 14, 15, 35, 38, 55, 57, 64 and 66 provide water rescue services, while stations 15, 35, 38, 57 and 64 provide ice rescue services.
Owing to their dual specialties, water and ice rescue teams are on duty 365 days per year. Their firefighting equipment includes a drysuit to protect against prolonged exposure to cold.
Members of this specialized team are initially trained by instructors from the SIM, and teams perform year-round exercises and simulations. Most of the firefighters on these teams are medical first responders qualified to carry out medical evacuations and provide first aid, where required.
During an ice rescue operation, rescue teams will deploy rope and pulley rescue techniques in combination with stretchers in the event that watercraft are unable to get to the exact location of the incident due to thick ice cover. These intervention techniques have the advantage that they can be rapidly implemented, either from shore or directly from the pack ice.
In addition to fighting fires, the Service de sécurité incendie de Montréal responds to calls requiring various types of specialized interventions. All require solid expertise along with training and equipment geared to specific operational contingencies. The following video capsule features an ice rescue team at work.