How do I prepare for an ice rescue course?

Learn how to prepare for an ice rescue course by reading this FAQ.

Q.  How is the course organized?

Q.  How long does the ice rescue course run each day?

Courses run approximately 8 hours each day, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. with a break for lunch. The exeption is Ice Rescue Awareness, which is only 4 hours in length.

Q:  Do I have to attend the whole course?

100% attendance is required to receive certification. 

Q.  Will I get a confirmation that the ice rescue course is going ahead?

Approximately 7-10 days before the course, you will receive an email to confirm details such as classroom location, start time, the instructor’s name and contact information for any last minute issues.

Q.  What do I need for the course?

  • Be prepared for note-taking
  • Ice rescue suit or drysuit (available for rent from Raven Rescue)
  • PFD *only required if using a drysuit – Type III or V (provided on request – at no charge -)
  • Please wear appropriate clothing for the weather. It gets very cold. Winter boots, jacket, hat and mitts.
  • A full change of clothing
  • A towel

Q.  I’m renting equipment from Raven Rescue. When and where do I get it?

The instructor will provide rental gear on Day 1. Charges will apply if equipment is lost or damaged. Please follow instructions for putting on and taking off gear.

Q: What do I wear under an ice rescue suit or drysuit?

  • Fleece, wool or “wicking” pants and top
  • Fleece, wool or “wicking” socks
  • If extremely cold, a down jacket is recommended
  • Balaclava or hat that fits under a helmet
  • Winter gloves with commercial dish gloves overtop or neoprene gloves
  • NO COTTON as it gets cold and wet quickly
  • “Hotshot” hand and foot warmers

Q: What kind of footwear do I need?

  • If you are renting an ice suit you should wear wool/thermal socks
  • For drysuits – Neoprene boots with a good walking sole, or
  • Old running shoes that are a bit big so they fit over the drysuit socks (these work great)
  • Insulated boots are not recommended as they get very heavy when submersed

Q: Are there any nice extras to bring?

  • Hot Shots (pocket warmers)
  • Gear bag to keep your stuff organized
  • Garbage bag for your wet stuff

Q: Is pre-reading required?

No pre-reading is needed.

Q: Are meals included?

You are responsible for your own food. Please bring:

  • Lots of drinking water
  • Hot drink in a thermos (optional)
  • Bring a lunch and snacks with you

Q.  What if I’m scared of performing the skills on the course?

While getting banged and bruised or cold and wet is not outside the realm of possibility during a technical rescue training course, in order to receive a certification you are not required to do anything you are uncomfortable with.

Raven recognizes that caution and knowing personal limits is a sign of a good rescuer. Therefore, our approach is “Challenge by Choice.” If you wish to observe a specific activity only, please advise the instructor immediately. This will be noted on your skill sheet and should be shared with your supervisor.

However, this also means that if you cannot demonstrate knowledge of key skills, your certification may be downgraded to the appropriate level by the Instructor.

Q. Can I go through the ice in my normal field gear?

Yes! Some employers require their personnel to try this during an ice course, so that they can practice self rescue when they aren’t wearing a PFD and an ice suit.

If you would like to try this, please let us know in advance – there are some logistics we’ll cover with you so that you’re well set up.

Q.  What kind of paperwork do I receive?

  • A certificate of completion (digital)
  • A personalized skill sheet (training record) documenting the skills & knowledge you performed or observed. You should give a copy of this to your supervisor as it is proof you have taken the course. Keep your copy in a safe place.
  • Registration in the student database so that your credentials can be verified with a phone call or email.
  • Course text

Q.  How long is my certification valid?

Certification is valid for three years from date of issue. We offer discounted rates for re-certification as long as your certification is still valid when you register.

Q. I’ve heard I can audit for free?

Anytime during the three-year period that your certification is valid, you are welcome are to audit the same course – for free – to practice and refresh your skills.

We’ll even sign your skill sheet to prove you’ve been practicing your skills. This does not take the place of a re-certification, as it does not extend the length of your certification.

Raven ice rescue course participant