1. #1
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Question Is it just me or did the PA swiftwater rescue deaths seam senseless??

    1. Sounded like a body recovery.
    2. Do I understand that these guys were tethered together and then had another line tying them to shore? As a paddler and a ff/EMTP, this sounds like a real bad idea??

  2. #2
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I hate to second guess a situation I was not part of when that department just lost two members, but I would like to know more.

    I don't understand tethering yourself to another person. I can understand being attached to a shore line if you have a breakaway feature on your PFD. That would allow you to get out of it if you became tangled.

    I'd want to know how and why they were tethered together. We have a cardinal rule in my department - in the water you NEVER tie yourself to anything you can't get out of...and we have knives on our PFD's just in case the worst happens anyway.

    I'd also want to know what the time frame was - we consider it a rescue up to 2 hours. There have been successful resescitations up to 90 minutes now and you can't always rely on the bystanders to give an accurate accounting of time.

    It's a horrible thing to have happen, and to have two members killed is even worse. Without knowing all the details I'd be hard pressed to do anything but ask questions though - I know I wouldn't want to be second guessed, that dept. has to be feeling bad enough already.

    Susan Bednar
    Forsyth Rescue Squad (Captain)
    Griffith Volunteer FD

  3. #3
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I read another report off a paddling website that said the two rescuers did not have a knife on them, but were actually cut loose by someone on shore or the floating platform....Who knows??? I've seen a couple of different stories already.
    ...I would NEVER tether myself to another person...even w/ a breakaway PFD and/or knife on me. ...And to tie yourself to a shoreline can be an option if you are highly trained, HIGHLY, HIGHLY trained in it and are making an attempt to save a saveable life. Someone that is pinned and barely staying above water or someone that just went down.

    I'm not crazy about the 90minute time frame. Depends on how it is used. I would be willing to place myself at greater risk for someone on the fringe of drowning or I know to have just gone under than someone that has been down 90 minutes. I definitely don't place the two in the same rescue priority.

  4. #4
    Firehouse.com Guest


    With the 90 minute time frame or any time frame it's a guideline. We eveluate every situation individually. There is always a risk/benefit analysis.

    Just because we consider it a potential rescue due to cold water conditions doesn't mean we'll take undue risks with our personnel.

    If the situation is deemed to dangerous to put our people into then we won't. It's a call I haven't had to make yet, and frankly I hope I don't - but I will if I have to.

    Also we have both fixed and swiftwater situations to deal with so our guidelines are designed to cover it all. We rely on our people and their training to know the difference and evaluate conditions properly.

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