It wasnâ??t exactly an average field trip, but fifth grade teacher at Dollar Bay Elementary, Kevin Butler, braved icy waters this afternoon at the Coast Guard station, which happens to be just down the road from the school, to help teach his students a lesson in ice safety.
â??Water is everywhere around here, and I hear a lot of stories about kids going ice fishing, and Iâ??m always a little bit nervous,â?? he said. â??So, I figured, letâ??s get them over here and at least give them some information on how to get out of the water.â??
First, the kids got a look at what the Coast Guard brings along to rescue situations, like rescue boards, water slings, and a shepherdâ??s crook.
Boatswain Mate Third Class Henry Wilson said each item is important to bring even if they end up not using it.
â??There isnâ??t really a set scenario that youâ??re going to run into,â?? said Wilson. â??Itâ??s going to be really weak ice or really strong ice, or the guyâ??s really far off the ice. So, itâ??s just to kind of give us a bunch of different tools we can use.â??
Then they watched Butler struggle in the water. Both Butler and the kids laughed at Butlerâ??s expense, but he said he wouldnâ??t find it quite as funny if it happened in real life.
But after watching the ice rescue, the students learned the most important thing to do if theyâ??re ever in a slippery situation.
â??You have to stay calm,â?? said fifth grader Madalyn Matson.
â??Try to stay calm and get some help,â?? echoed fifth grader Travis Houle.
â??Itâ??s important because if youâ??re ever in that situation, you should know what to do,â?? added fifth grader Jaycee Carlson.
Even Butler said he learned a thing or two in the water.
â??I couldnâ??t even crawl up on that ice. It just kept breaking out in front of me,â?? he said. â??Even though I knew I was safe, I started to panic a little bit.â??
During these days when the ice is getting thinner and thinner, Butler says it's vital for the kids to know what to do to be safe.
â??Ice is dangerous, so you have to respect it,â?? said Butler.