1. #1
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    Default Calm water rescue question

    If you are in swimming range of a pt. thats needs rescue do you always use a tether line to the shore when you swim out to the pt? Is it acceptable to swim out without a tether line to the pt, get them a life jacket, and wait for a rescue boat to pick you up instead of being pulled back to shore?

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    Define "swimming range."

    Reach, throw, row, and go. Swimming out is always the last resort.

    Unless you're a strong swimmer and properly trained as a lifeguard, swimming out to a drowning is often a good way to get yourself drowned, too.

    If you must swim out to a patient without a lifeline, the best place for a lifejacket is on yourself. Bring a second lifejacket to toss to the patient when you get there. Never appraoch a drowning patient unless you're prepared for that patient to try to use you to climb out of the water.
    "Nemo Plus Voluptatis Quam Nos Habant"

    The Code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules.

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    Stick to the Reach -Throw- Row- Go aycronym and it will point you in the right direction. The DeputyMarshal made a good point when he said "Be prepared for the patient to be or become combative". In water rescue training your taught to be prepared for such an encounter and how to defensively protect yourself. Besides acting defensively you should make a strong attempt to calm the victim and get him or her on board with the rescue operation. If someone fears for their life chances are their not going to be in a clear state of mind and may see you as a threat instead of a rescuer.
    I like using a teather line simply because it will allow the shore based rescuers the ability to help bring you back to the shore. Why wait for a boat if you can make it back to shore yourself...That's especially important in colder water when hypothermia is a concern.
    Finally always remember the basics...never enter the water in turn-out gear or without a PFD, especially if your not a strong swimmer. If your not trained in this disipline and you question your swimming skills your best bet is to stick to the Reach and Throw portion of the acroynm. Water rescue operations with untrained personell become dangerous and you run the risk of becomming a victim yourself.
    Stay Safe,
    Mike Donahue
    "Training Prepares You...For Moments That Define You

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    Quote Originally Posted by DeputyMarshal View Post
    Define "swimming range."

    Reach, throw, row, and go. Swimming out is always the last resort.

    Unless you're a strong swimmer and properly trained as a lifeguard, swimming out to a drowning is often a good way to get yourself drowned, too.

    If you must swim out to a patient without a lifeline, the best place for a lifejacket is on yourself. Bring a second lifejacket to toss to the patient when you get there. Never appraoch a drowning patient unless you're prepared for that patient to try to use you to climb out of the water.
    Swimming range - 200ft ? with flippers and a mustang suit.

    A little clarification, in our situation the boat probably will have to launch in an area remote from the patient. We normally have a crew or two go straight to the patient's location and a few other crews launch the boat.

    I was more specifically wondering if there was any hard and fast rule about using a tether line to the shore, is it a must or is it more of a judgement call?

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    A surface swimming rescue is one of the most under rated rescue out there. Like a trench that isn't shored, a confined space that you can see the victim, a partial building collapse their is much more to it then meets the eye.
    If properly trained, conditioned and equipped it is relatively safe. If one of the prior is missing their is a high likelihood of something going wrong.
    A rescue tube or can should be mandatory for this type of rescue. A panicked patient can drown a rescuer in a Mustang suit. I know we all have them but the Mustang suit should be reserved for Ice rescue incidents in still water only.
    In addition to being a firefighter and diver I am also a lifeguard, please believe me when I say that most firefighters are not capable of safely conducting these rescues. If your agency is going to do this then a swim test is MANDATORY. Pool Lifeguards swim 200 yards (non stop) just to get into training. Open water lifeguards need to be able to swim 500 yards in under 10 minutes (as a minimum requirement)

    With training you could get away with Engine companies attempting these rescues. A reel line is OK as long as you aren't in current (many very successful Ocean rescue programs still use reels) I would make sure the rescue tube is used properly as a minimum. A panicked victim will not be able to don a PFD. You can also drown in a PFD so don't think it is a magic shield that will protect you.

    If the rescuer (in still water) needs a PFD for the rescuer he shouldn't be in the water (I'm not talking about swift water or just as a safety)

    It is a big task, any other questions please ask. We have been working on a surface water tech program and it has not been easy. This may be one of those things that only an elite few can do safely.

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