1. #1
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    Default Shore-based water rescue help?

    Due to recent events during the past month or so, where we've had a LOT of rain in our area, we have been exposed to the very real problem of water rescue. Being as the majority if our district is on top of a watershed, we've never really had to deal with this. However, that's changing it seems. I don't know if people are getting dumber or what.

    Anyway, in the past we've relied on a nearby department that has a limited amount of training and equipment to mutual aid when we have a water incident (which is rare). However, the call volume over the last 24 hours put us in a position where we had to improvise. Thankfully, it was a slow-water incident and the water wasn't that deep. It was cold, and a five-month old were involved, so we did what we could as safely as we could with what we had.

    As a result, my board has requested I bring some pricing on equipment so that we can do this safer. Anyone have any tips on what to look at for shore-based rescue? Right now I'm looking at PFD's, helmets, and gloves for protection, then throw-bags and maybe a cinch collar or something for rescue or at least having a line on someone in case things digress. I'm figuring if we can at least get tag lines on them, we can wait for the hour or more it might take for the nearest swift-water team to arrive. That's assuming they can get there due to flooding elsewhere.

    Getting a swift-water team trained and equipped isn't an option at the moment. There is only one or two classes per year in the state, and they're four hours away. Plus, getting guys the prereq classes is going to be a task. However, it's something I'm going to try to work toward for the county.

    Any opinions out there on this?

  2. #2
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    Default Shore based water rescue

    This is a serious reply to your question, although it may not sound like one. Call the Coast Guard. They are responsible for all navigable inland waterways and may have a presence in the area that you may or may not be aware of, either way they could be a resource for you. Please let me know if they are of any help to you.
    Last edited by Mzanghetti; 10-10-2009 at 09:26 AM.
    Mark Zanghetti
    FF-EMT
    Goshen Fire Dept.
    Waterford, CT

  3. #3
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    For equipment I would get what you stated in your post. PFDs, helmets (like Protec or Cascade) neoprene gloves, Whistles on your pfds and knioves are good too. Definitely the throw bags I suggest the 75 foot rope ones as you have more rope to work with. We carry this equipment on all of our rigs. I would even think of carrying more than one rope bag per vehicle. One othe thing I suggest you have is some training in doing shore based rescues from a reputable training source.

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    I'll see what I can dig up with the USCG. The only navigable waterways we have in the area are the lakes an hour away, and they don't have a particular presence there. The Missouri Water Patrol and US Army Corps of Engineers are really the only presence. What we're dealing with is small creeks that are getting out of their banks or dry creeks that are flooding with the amount of rain we're having.

    The incident we had the other day was a dry creek where the creek bed is part of the road. No whistles, no culvert, the road just basically runs through the creek. It's not normally an issue, but apparently these people didn't realize how deep it really was since they weren't from this area.

    Batt1RIFD- I'm going to try my dangdest to get some kind of training. I've got some contacts that are instructors and swift water certified that might be able to help me out with some shore-based ops, it'll just be a factor of getting a hold of them. More technical training is going to be next to impossible, unless we can figure out a way to fund and train a tech rescue team as a county-wide resource for various disciplines. It's something we probably need, it's just getting the support from all the departments and organizing it.

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    Without getting into a real long post, get to school quick. There are a lot of PFD's, helmets, drysuits, etc. Without the training you are asking for an accident. Rescue 3 does a great swift/flood water class, DRI also does good swift water.
    Please, get the training.
    Few safety tips. Put a pfd on the victim, NEVER tie a rope around a victim, without the proper training and equipment NEVER tie a rope around a rescuer.

    Stay safe

  6. #6
    fmc204

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    Catch22

    There are a lot of options open to you, if you want to e-mail me off line I can send you a list of recommended equipment for a first line piece to carry, or at least what we carry in our apparatus for water rescue. I agree with the other gentlemen thou, training is a must to use the equipment properly and safely. Feel free to contact me for more information.


    rscudive@aol.com

  7. #7
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    I would send one member off to get outside training then make him teach everyone else. This is not perfect but its an option.
    FF/Paramedic

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    My department just went through this issue. We have a large river completely along two of our borders and a fair-sized creek (big enough for canoes/kayaks) on another border. There has been an absolute explosion of water traffic, mainly due to the availability of inexpensive kayaks. A kayak dealer in town started a "Ladies-Only" kayak wine-and-cheese event one Wednesday evening each month. The first night, they had SIXTY-ONE! women show up. He used every kayak he had and had to borrow life jackets from neighbors. This combined with the jet-boat users had us mighty concerned.

    In March we had an overturned canoe in high-water conditions, two moderate-to-severe hypothermic patients, in the middle of nowhere. Neighboring mutual-aid department has a boat and dive team and launched immediately but were not needed. During the post-incident critique, we discussed the lack of PFD's on rescue personnel working on the riverbank. Several of us already have Water Rescue 1 training. We opted to buy equipment. With the help of some of the mutual-aid departments, we decided on PFD's and throwbags for EACH truck, including the tanker. We do water supply with it, and I've been next to flooded streams/rivers at 3 AM wearing bunker pants in February wrestling hard tube around in the mud. Throwbags are attached to each vest. Now we are in the process of purchasing lights, knives, carabiners, and webbing for each vest. We are also hosting a Water Emergency Awareness next spring, and Water Rescue 1 that weekend. We are working with our surrounding mutual-aid departments that do water rescue and training together. We also just had an Advanced Water Rescue Line Systems course with a bunch of our MA departments in August. We have neither the money nor motive to do much more, but by working and training with our MA departments we hope to be the best shore-based rescue and boat/dive team support possible.

    Check with your State Water Patrol (here it's the PA Fish and Boat Commission). They may have training programs available and also possibly funding.

  9. #9
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    One thing that some departments are doing around here is requiring this course of all their members.

    http://www.onlinefireschoolbgsu.com/

    Its an online water rescue awareness program to give the responders at least some knowledge of what they might be getting themselves into.
    ------------------------------------
    These opinions are mine and do not reflect the opinions of any organizations I am affiliated with.
    ------------------------------------

  10. #10
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    I recommend sending 1 or 2 of your members to a train the trainer program. Check out www.lifesaving.com out of NH. They have a train the trainer academy coming up this May. As far as equipment, you are on the right track. Keep researching to find what best fits your needs.

  11. #11
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    Default South Bend river rescue

    You might consider the river rescue class in South Bend Indiana. I've been to it and another swift water class and i can't imagine someplace having the facilities that they do.

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