Bravery in the Line of Duty
As a member of the York Regional Police Marine Unit, David Flood is part of a specialized rescue team that is first to the scene for all water and ice emergencies on Lake Simcoe.
David spends his summer on a boat, motoring across the waters of the lake. When winter comes, his mode of travel changes to a snowmobile. But no matter what type of vehicle he is operating, David’s job always remains the same—to save lives.
Everyday, this 2004 graduate of Seneca’s Police Foundations program puts his life on the line to save others. In fact, for seven years, David has been rescuing people and on April 27 he received one of the highest police honours – the Bravery in the Line of Duty Award — for his role in saving the lives of four people.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime award,” David says. “I was floored and humbled.”
David’s heroism as a police officer was never more apparent than in the early evening of March 19, 2010. The York Regional Police call centre was inundated with 911 calls reporting that several people had fallen through the ice in the area of Cook’s Bay on Lake Simcoe.
David was among the first officers on the scene to assist four men who had been kite surfing on a frozen section of the lake when they encountered open water several hundred metres from shore and fell in.
David, along with four other officers, donned their ice rescue suits and began the dangerous trek across the unstable ice to rescue the victims. The officers made it just 30 metres out before the ice started to crack. Time was quickly running out and they had another 770 metres to go to get to the men in the water.
“It was like swimming in a slurpie,” recalls David, “Exhausting!”
David and his partner, Constable Robert Hands, successfully got to the first victim, who was suffering from hypothermia. They quickly fitted him with a buoyancy collar to keep his head above water.
Before long, the Georgina Fire Department had arrived on the scene with an air rescue boat. The officers and firefighters working together were able to save the lives of all four victims.
“The one victim said, ‘I had resolved to let go until I saw you,” David says.
Since this incident, it’s been back to work as usual for David.
These days, he is spending a lot of his time in the classroom where he is serving as a cold water rescue instructor, training the next generation of York Regional Police Marine Unit heroes.
For the foreseeable future, water and ice will remain his beat, and this Senecan wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I have always enjoyed ice rescue. Some people are intimidated by it. It’s not different than a fire fighter entering a burning building. If you are on top of your environment, using your training, with your head on a swivel, you will be fine.”