Lake Rescue Team members have been getting their annual ice dives in while Madison's lakes are nice 'n' chilly. Our B-shift Dive Team set up on Lake Mendota last Friday. Scroll through the photos to learn more about their work:

Dive Team tent

The Dive Team placed its tent near the hole in the ice for divers and support personnel to keep warm in frigid temperatures. The tent has a heater that can be deployed inside to warm the interior.

Tent anchor up close

Firefighters anchor their tent on the ice so the wind doesn't take it to the other side of the lake. Both the anchor and the stake are screwed into the ice and hold very well.

SCUBA gear

Firefighter Tyler McDougal and Apparatus Engineer Steve Le unloading SCUBA gear from the airboat onto the ice in preparation for their ice dive in Lake Mendota.

Rope anchor

Firefighters create a rope anchor in the ice so the rope doesn't get away from them.

McDougal enters the water

Firefighter Tyler McDougal (black suit) enters the water with Apparatus Engineer Scott Lardinois (orange suit) getting ready to follow him. Notice the bright yellow rope attached to Tyler's dive gear. This rope is used to communicate with the divers under the water by predetermined "pulls" on the rope. When personnel on top of the ice feel the rope pulled sharply, it indicates that everything is "OK", other signals indicate a problem or trouble, such as numerous sharp pulls on the rope.

Lardinois enters the water

AE Scott Lardinois getting ready to join McDougal in the water after he's attached to the rope.

Divers in the water

Divers in the water!!

Lt. Schaller and radio equipment

Lt. Tom Schaller operating the communications system that is used along with the rope method.

Schaller and group on ice

Notice AE Steve Le is sitting in full SCUBA gear. His assignment, along with FF. Zach Smith, is to be the "safety divers" who stand by at the ready should there be a problem with one of the two divers who are under the ice. It takes numerous personnel on top of the ice to assist the divers down below with completing their assignment and to keep them safe.

Schaller, radio equipment, and airboat

Lt. Schaller operating the radio communication system that the divers use while underwater. This system is used in conjunction with the rope method described earlier.

Divers resurface

Divers come up - a bit colder than when they went down!

What's it like to be under the ice?
Find out now!

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Category: General, Station 1