Based on our research of ice rescue incidents and fatalities during the years 2006 & 2007, approximately 85% of the incidents were initiated as a result of humans venturing out onto the ice to rescue a domestic animal. The purpose of this article is three-fold. First, we need to educate the public about the need to control their pets and to prevent them from going out onto the ice because no ice should ever be considered as being "safe ice". Second, we need to also educate the public to call 911, rather than to make an attempt to rescue their pets that have fallen through the ice. And, third, First Responder agencies and their personnel need to be trained and equipped to properly, effectively, and safely respond to domestic animal rescues on and through the ice.
In February 2004, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) published NFPA 1670: Standard on Operations and Training for Technical Search and Rescue Incidents. The purpose of this standard is to minimize threats to rescuers while conducting operations at technical SAR incidents, and the standard deals specifically with identifying and establishing levels of functional capability for conducting technical rescue operations safely and effectively. Although these standards were designed for all types of Technical Rescue operations, they also address water and ice rescue operations.