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  1. #1
    Lowell Karpuska
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Question River Dive Rescue

    The membership of the Tolland County Divers are in the middle of a debate on the best way to dive the Connecticut River. At this time our SOG's state that if you go into the river you will be tethered. Some of the membership don't like to do this because of all of the debris that comes down the river and that they could get tangled and have a major problem. Any dive rescue teams that dive in big rivers please let me know how your team does it.


  2. #2
    gah74
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Exclamation

    Wow. I'm not on a dive or swiftwater rescue team, but I am an avid whitewater kayaker and firefighter/EMTP. I still believe that moving water rescue is a weird thing in the fire/rescue world. I would definitely use EXTREME caution before tethering yourself to anything and entering moving water. If you do decide to do this, use a breakaway harness or have a knife that you can get to and wont drop (maybe have it tied to you also)

  3. #3
    Firediver
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Exclamation

    Not tethered!? I had no idea that the dive team had such a big problem with crack. just kidding. No one should do PSD without being tethered. Also, Dive Rescue International and Lifeguard Systems both have current diving courses. Get with them, before someone gets swept.

    ------------------
    Craig Walker

    stay low....stay safe....BUT GET YOU SOME!!!!

  4. #4
    gah74
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Question

    Again, let me reiterate that I'm not on a dive team, but I'm really curious about this tethering thing here.

    So run me through this...we are talking swiftwater not flatwater correct? Do the divers wear breathing apparatus? Is the tether part of a break away system...meaning it can be broken easily at the anchor and by the diver himself (not requiring a knife)??

    Tethering is certainly an option if done correctly w/ break away equipment, but should only be done for a viable rescue (not a body recovery).

    Two firefighter/divers died in PA a couple months back by entering swiftwater and being tethered to each other and to the shore. The line to the shore I can understand...the line to each other I don't at all. In the swiftwater rescue world outside the fire service this is considered really stupid...no offense. So is this what is being taught? Honestly, I really am curious.

    [This message has been edited by gah74 (edited 06-06-2001).]

  5. #5
    ADSN/WFLD
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    For swift water diving the diver should hold on to the tether or have a break away line. A diver should NEVER be tied into a line in swift water. (I know the "N" word, but in this case it's appropriate)

    Under the ice the diver should be tied in, but in moving water the diver needs the ability to get free from the line. If the diver has an emergency he can be held under by the force of the moving water.

    I agree with going to a reputable school. No one should dive in moving water without adequate training.

    Good Luck and Stay Safe

  6. #6
    gah74
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    I appreciate the input ADSN. That was more or less my concern. When tethered to the shore a person in swift water can pendulum under water especially if the line snags on floating debris. You'd be SOL w/out some means of freeing yourself from the line.

    I'm not on a swiftwater team or play any part in our depts rescue team, but I'm extremely comfortable in moving water. I've seen our dept and some of the cities around us do things that I think are really stupid. I'm not sure if you read about the two PA firefighters (it's still in the LODD forum on here), but that seemed pretty stupid also. Just my thoughts though.

  7. #7
    Firediver
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Lightbulb

    there is a shackle on the market that is called a SNAP SHACKLE. Dive Rescue International's catalog has them, and also West Marine. it is a breakaway, and a real big help as it is user friendly when the line is under pressure. Divers should never be tethered together in any situation. One diver/one tender. optimal conditions should allow for only one diver in the water at a time, this eliminates any diver/diver entanglments

    ------------------
    Craig Walker

    stay low....stay safe....BUT GET YOU SOME!!!!

  8. #8
    Junior Member
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    Jul 2001
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    Longmont, Colorado
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    Say this is interesting!
    While our SOPs say tethered always, we don't always. It's usually on the call of the dive master or on-scene water commander. This decision seems to be weighed out by the depth and force of the water. In the cases of open water we always tether. In swift water there is a decision to be made concerning depth and volume.

    I'd agree that strainers are an issue, but that is why rescuers have knives. At least I hope that they all do. Poly line slices right off without much effort.
    When our people are tethered they are connected to shore personnel, usually by a ring on their gear, or a separate bowline line connected to a carabiner. They can unsnap be beener or cut the line if they get in trouble.

    At no time that I know of has one diver / rescuer ever been tethered to another rescuer when they are both in the water. It seems crazy to me. Even to tether to shore personnel seems nuts.

    On the subject of SCUBA: I've never heard of or experienced anyone going into a swift water situation while in SCUBA gear. You need to be able to move pretty quickly and be bouyant

    paul tiger
    In order to have an effective technology, reality must take precedence over public relations. For nature cannot be fooled.

    Dr. Richard P. Feynman

  9. #9
    Junior Member
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    Dec 2000
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    Little Hocking, Ohio
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    Our S.O.G.'s say thet our diver will allways be on line, either wired comm line or poly rope. 99.9% of the time we go by this, there is the small occasion that we free dive, but only in controlled situations. We dive the Ohio River a lot of the time and floating junk is a problem. We all carry two forms of cutting devices on us at all times. I carry a knife and a pair of rescue shears. If we are on comm line we have a quick dissconnect coupler hooker to a d-ring on our B.C., if we are on poly rope we use a grab loop. In free diving there is no way of keeping touch with a tender as to problems underwater, this dose not give me a warm and fuzzy feeling.
    Lt. Homer

  10. #10
    Senior Member
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    Apr 2001
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    Garland, TX, USA
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    Default

    Is the Ohio River swift water? ...more than just current?

  11. #11
    Junior Member
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    Aug 2001
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    Fresno, Ca
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    im on a dive/ swiftwater rescue team in california, most of our rescues involve vehicles in canals some as wide as 250-300ft that have very swift current. in this situation all of our divers are tethered with a throwbag by someone on the surface. In the event that something does happen our diver yanks on the rope an infinite amount of times till our backup diver(who is set up and ready to go) reaches him. we also do alot of training up on the upper kings river that has some very swift water. whenever we get in the water we are tethered in some way to our PFD's if any thing were to happen we have a "pop" cord attached to our PFD's that will disengage the tethered line. in any of these cases or any of your situations there is no way that anyone should be allowed in swift water without some kind of safety line attached. "safety of yourself and your team is our first priority."

  12. #12
    Senior Member
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    Garland, TX, USA
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    What is "safe" is the question?

    Entering swift water should be a last resort first of all.

    If the rescuer has to enter swift water he would almost always have to be tethered...otherwise he would be downstream. How is he tethered and to what or whom is he tethered is an important question? Rescue PFD's w/ breakaway tether's are great...but only for those who know how to use them and have trained w/ them.

    I would not recommend a first in engine co. w/ minimal whitewater training use a rope tied to a life jacket and then enter swift water. That is a real bad idea.

  13. #13
    Forum Member BladesRobinson's Avatar
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    Indian River County, Florida
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    I would contact Trevor Aronson at Dive Rescue International. Trevor works for the Larimer County Dive Rescue Team and has a lot of experience diving in moving water.

    I understand that they teather a diver using a quick disconnect shackle so that the diver can "break away" quickly and cleanly if an emergency arises. They also stage personnel downstram with rescue throw bags and position spotters upstream looking for hazards.

    I know that Dive Rescue International teaches a Current Diving program, and offers several levels of Swiftwater Rescue training. You can e-mail Trevor Aronson at: for additional information.

    Best regards,

    Blades Robinson

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