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  1. #1
    dgrant
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post Water Rescue Training Levels

    Fire Departments get called for lots of things, including water rescues that can range from a possible drowning in a pool, to swift water rescues. These are dangerous situations, and I've been wondering about training, certifications, equipment, and sop's.

    I wonder how many departments really expect a firefighter that is untrained in water rescue (advanced lifesaving course as a minimum, I would think) to jump into the water and attempt to rescue a drowning victim, or someone barely clinging to an object in a swift water situation? How many departments require that a firefighter applicant, or an incumbent firefighter for that matter, know how to swim and pass a proficiency test each year???

    Any thoughts on this would be much appreciated. I'm concerned for our firefighters' safety and welfare, and I firmly believe that they should not be asked, or ordered, to do something that they have not been trained for, have not been properly equipped to do, or do not have the ability to do.

    There's apparently a lack of any "standards" for this sort of thing, I haven't found anything in NFPA relating to this, and that's pretty much the bible for us.

    And before I get jumped on by those that think firefighters should do "something", just because we responded to the call....consider this. Would you send someone into a hazmat situation, or a burning building, that is not properly trained and equipped???


  2. #2
    ADSN/WFLD
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    The NFPA standard on technical rescue, 1670, discusses water rescue.
    As a public safety diver it would depend on where you work. In northern Illinos I wouldn't suggest that any firefighter preforms "lifeguard style" rescues. In my area the water is almost always "cold water". Most ponds are full of weeds that can entangle rescuers.
    Just because we swim in a pool or lake doesn't automatically give us the tools for water rescue.
    If you have to do something then you have REACH, THROW, ROW then Go, but only with training and equipment.

    Stay safe

  3. #3
    northshorefire
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    There are 2 ways of doing things, NFPA and Non-NFPA. Our department uses NFPA as a genreal guideline for fire, but does not for medical and rescue related activities.

    Our Rescue Team has set general guidelines for water rescue. The first set is for still water rescue. Our operations level is about 16 hours and has 4-8 hours of classroom & practicals related to water safety, PFD use, and throwbags. The rest is spent in the water practicing with "patients". Our largest concern for stillwater is a patient in a panic latching on to a responder and pushing them under. Therefore we practice safety tactics and patient packaging. We do not require annual testing at this time.

    As for swift water - we utilize a 16 or 24 hour operations class or a 40 hour technician class. However, we do not have much swift water potential in our district.

  4. #4
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2000
    Location
    Baltimore MD USA
    Posts
    4

    Default

    Great we are all familiar with NFPA 1670, but does anyone have a copy of NFPA 1006 Rescue Technician Pro-Qual? I am in desperate search of a glimps of it, but I really dont want to have to buy it, I just need to know what are the pre-requisites.
    Fearless_371

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Posts
    384

    Default

    DGrant,
    Your concern for the safety and well being of your fellow firefighters is well placed. There should an administrative order in your department that states that none of its personnel engage in or attempt to perform any activity that he or she has not been trained in and/or has not successfully pass a proficiency test.
    Regarding water rescue incidents, we are not talking about setting up a ventilation fan or loading a hose bed. A water rescue incident is a situation that already involves one victim who's life is in immediate danager. The last thing that any department, or anyone for that matter, wants to have happen is to lose a firefighter in a hap-hazard ill attempt or performing a water rescue. There are many a documented incident whereby, not only the initial victim drowned, but one or more of his would
    be rescuers drowned as well.
    First and foremost: You have NO duty to act in a situation for which you have no training and/or lack the proper equipment to safely perform the job.
    It is the responsibilty of the O.I.C. to see to it that everyone returns to the fire station health and in one piece.
    I will refer you to the OSHA Regulation 1926.06 which states: anyone working in, around or over water, where the possiblity of drowning exists, is required to wear a personal floatation device (PFD).
    It appears to me that you are relatively new to the fire service. If that is th case, I would suggest that you take the time to reveiw your department's S.O.P.s and Administrative Orders. At the very least have a nice chat with a kindly chief that can give you the heads-up as to what is expected of you.
    I could go on with this, but I think that I have taken up enough space on teh message board. May be more next time.
    Robert
    Marine Services Bureau
    MDFD
    "He who saves a single life, is said to have saved the entire world." TM

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Posts
    384

    Default

    ADSN/WFLD,
    I would be very interested in learning how you handle water rescues in weedy ponds. I would like to know your S.O.P. on handling those types of emergencies. Do you utilize watercraft or are all of your procedures shore based? Can you share some information with me?
    Thanks,
    Robert
    "He who saves a single life, is said to have saved the entire world." TM

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