# Swiftwater Rescue II The focus on Swiftwater Rescue II is to provide practical applications for search and rescue techniques, information on managing.

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Swiftwater Rescue II The focus on Swiftwater Rescue II is to provide practical applications for search and rescue techniques, information on managing a SWR incident and appropriate resource deployment.

Swiftwater search and rescue operations are manpower intensive
Swiftwater search and rescue operations are manpower intensive. Objects in water have the potential to move great distances and search areas may become quite large in a short period of time. Introduction

Moving water is most effectively searched by teams appropriately trained in swiftwater rescue that can function in or out of the water. Land-based teams provide additional manpower by filling positions not requiring in-water skills. There is a great advantage in assigning land-based teams to assist with in-water search operations. Ask students to name a few.

Trained swiftwater personnel...
Although rescuers trained for in-water operations can cover large distances quickly, they are usually limited by number and are often required to function using technical equipment and painstaking search techniques. Test Question #1: Highly trained swiftwater personnel are not usually limited by number. T or F

Swiftwater Rescue II will expand upon the skills learned during SWR I and focus on the resource effectiveness of swiftwater teams working in moving water environments, be it flood operations, canal searches or river rescue. It will also emphasize the importance of training and utilizing shore-based personnel to assist with search, rescue and recovery operations.

Lesson 1: Characteristics of Moving Water
This section is intended to be an overview of the mechanics of moving water thoroughly presented in SWR1 curriculum. Test Question #10: One characteristic of moving water is that it is always: A. Dirty B. Predictable C. Flows at a minimum of 1 knot D. Contains strainer and hydraulic pumps Briefly review the power of moving water. Powerful Relentless Predictable

Site reference Four river references relate to facing downstream
River Center Four river references relate to facing downstream River Right Current River Left Test Question #4: River orientation is ________relative to facing downstream. A. Sometimes B. Never C. More often D. Always Every Student needs to understand this concept. *Advise students that some labels did not print in the river drawings in their notes and they may want to add labels to their notes. Upstream

Site reference References remain the same even when the perspective is reversed Upstream River Right River Center Current River Left Downstream

Water dynamics two general categories of moving water...
Laminar flow Layers of moving water Helical flow Circular flow of water along the bank, forcing water to midstream Fast water moves in layers.

Laminar flow Straight Section Outside Bend Fastest Fast Slow Slowest
Test Question #23: Laminar flow is found______. A. Midstream B. Along the banks C. Behind a rock D. On the river’s substrait In laminar flow, friction is greatest along the bottom.

Helical & Laminar flow Laminar Flow Helical Flow Test Question #21:
Helical flow is usually found: A. Behind a rock B. Inside the boat C. Along the shore D. In the incident commander’s notebook Helical flow results from friction of water moving along the shallow water and near the shoreline. Helical Flow

Water dynamics Water is fastest… at the surface and midstream
Water slows down… along banks and bottom Water is faster… at the outside of bends and slower on the inside of bends Water slows down and deepens… in front of dams and other obstructions Test Question #6: Water flows fastest A. Around the banks B. Around the bends C. Midstream at the bottom D. At the surface and midstream Why are low head dams particularly dangerous?

Summary Understanding the dynamics of moving water enables the rescuer to function safely and effectively during rescue and recovery operations. Students need to fully understand the dynamics of moving water in order to function safely and effectively during rescue and recovery operations. Understanding hydraulics will also allow for accurate evaluation (or prediction) of what areas to concentrate search efforts.

Lesson 2: The Human Body in Water
Separating fact from fiction... Lesson 2: The Human Body in Water The next factor in our search equation is understanding how the body reacts in water.

Body weight in water Drowning victim’s sex & size vs. weight in water*
Bodies of adult drowning victims weigh between 7 and 16 pounds underwater Test Question #16: Bodies of adult drowning victims weigh between ________ underwater. A lbs. B lbs. C lbs. D lbs. The in-water weight of the human body is drastically reduced because it is made up mostly of water to start with. Special note: These weights are averages. A tall, lean male for example, weighing lb. may weigh slightly more in water than the average person in that category possessing a higher body fat. * Advise students to change the depth to less than 40 feet in their notes. *From Encyclopedia of Underwater Investigations; 1994, by Cpl. Robert G. Teather, RCMP

Fact... In still water, the weight of a body will cause it to settle in a near vertical drop to the bottom A body will drift no more than 1 foot horizontally for every foot it descends vertically!

In moving water... Faster Slower Since current moves faster at the surface and slower along the bottom, a body will drop through the layers of laminar flow as it is transported downstream and deposited on the bottom.

The distance downstream depends on the velocity of the laminar flow
As you might expect, the body will descend in a near vertical drop when the current is very slow but may be transported great distances if the bottom current is still moving at a highly accelerated rate.

Fiction... Fact... A body will be swept downstream in any current
Adult drowning victims submerged in moving water tend to resist lateral movement in currents less than 1.5 mph Test Question #2: Adult drowning victims submerged in moving water tend to resist lateral movement in currents less than A. 3 mph B. 1.5 mph C. 2.5 mph D mph Knowing the speed of the river can aid in the determination of area to be searched. No matter the speed of the top layers, if the water current at the bottom does not exceed 1.5 mph, the body should remain stationary on the bottom! Fast moving water is not a guarantee that the victim WILL be transported downstream. A snag or boulder sieve may hold a victim stationary even in faster moving water.

Time for float to travel 100 feet
Surface Velocity Time for float to travel 100 feet Throw a floating object (e.g. stick) in the water and record the time it takes to travel 100 feet Test Question #25: Velocity is measured in ________. A. Gallons per hour B. Feet per second C. Liters by day D. Pints per square inch This chart allows us to estimate our initial search boundaries. Students must understand computations as river velocity is crucial in establishing downstream containment. It is also valuable in estimating if the current is strong enough to carry a body downstream or remain near the point of entry. Current mph x Elapsed time of incident = Potential distance object at the surface may have traveled in the laminar flow. Velocity: measured in feet per second

Fact... When a drowning occurs in an area of white water, the body will probably continue to move with the current until it becomes lodged or the current slows and allows the body to settle White water generally results from increased velocity as water travels down a gradient and moves over and through fixes obstructions such as rocks and debris. This turbulent action causes water to become highly aerated and therefore less buoyant. White water does not have the ability to support an object at the surface and a body will drop through the white water until it reaches “solid water” below.

Body type and clothing... Lighter, less resistant body types will be more easily transported Amount of body fat and air trapped in clothing will contribute to buoyancy Depending on body type and clothing, some infants and small children may never sink Clothing may increase the potential to snag and hold a victim stationary in a strong current Clothing usually adds little to the weight of the victim under water but may affect buoyancy and drag. Clothing such as waders or other types of fishing gear may cause the body to partially float instead of submerge. Amount of surface area exposed to the current may increase the potential for the body to be carried downstream. Infants and small children tend to have a higher body fat that contributes to buoyancy. Diapers also contribute greatly to buoyancy.

Dispelling the “Sack of Potatoes” myth...
“Throw a sack in the water and it will end up in the same place as the victim.” Object must have the same shape and physical properties Must be of same volume and weight Must have same buoyancy Must have same drag from clothing Must be trackable Fact: Many untrained teams have unsuccessfully tried this technique using any number of items to determine where the victim is. A partial list includes logs, vehicle tires, and sacks full of potatoes. This technique does not work and is a waste of valuable time and manpower.

The phenomenon of body refloat...
Once decomposition begins the process of gas formation in the victim’s body, buoyancy can change drastically Test Question #7: A victim’s buoyancy will always remain the same. A. True B. False

Fact... Unless the victim is snagged or wedged, gas formation may eventually allow the body to raise to the surface where it could be transported downstream by the faster moving surface current It is important to note that this could happen days or weeks later causing the body to move outside of the initial search boundaries.

Physiology of body refloat
Time Temperature Depth Victim considerations... Time - For gas to build up in the tissues and body cavities. Temperature - The body will usually rise faster in warmer water. (For example: Consider the amount of time meat will keep in the refrigerator as opposed to sitting out at room temperature.) Depth - Consider gas volume vs. water pressure with depth. See next slide for information on victim considerations.

Victim considerations
Body type Diet Clothing Trauma (pre and post immersion) Body type - A higher percentage of body fat causes a body to be more buoyant. Diet - gas formation. The last meal of a victim can effect refloat. (For example, a lunch of beer and bean will greatly promote gas formation.) Clothing - Type of clothing may effect weight and refloat. Clothing may also inhibit refloat if the victim becomes snagged. In some cases, clothing can reduce decomposition by protecting the skin from exposure to marine life. Trauma - Open wounds may allow gas to escape and delay or prevent refloat.

Not all bodies will refloat!
Under certain conditions, a body may remain snagged, trapped in a strainer, held in a water hydraulic or become covered with silt and stay undetected for years Side note: In 1996, a large SUV plunged into the Clark Fork River near Plaines, Montana with one male occupant inside and was immediately swept downstream by the force of the current. The vehicle was discovered by searchers 30 days later completely covered by 2 inch river rock!

Summary Understanding the physical properties of the human body as it pertains to the water environment allows the rescue team to undertake an accurate scene evaluation.

Lesson 3: Safety Considerations
The search of moving water is at best difficult and challenging. Such activities present great obstacles for swiftwater rescue teams and often expose searchers to the threat of personal injury or death. Lesson 3: Safety Considerations Remind students that swiftwater rescue is dangerous. They always have the right to say NO!

Safe and effective search operations near moving water depend on proper...
Preparation Training Equipment. Pre-planning and training are crucial to the safety and success of the swiftwater rescue team. Continually updating skills is highly recommended to insure that all members are ready for any situation.

Hazards include... Water hydraulics
Strainers (barb wire, tree limbs, log jams, debris) Slippery, unsure footing Topography (access, cliff faces, drop-offs) Manmade obstructions (dams, bridges, debris) Cold water Rescuers must be alert and aware to the many hazards in the swiftwater environment.

Associated risks include...
Drowning Entrapment Hypothermia Blunt trauma Cuts and lacerations Death may result due to improper training and equipment.

The safety of all personnel must always be the highest priority!
Test Question #17: A rescuer always has the right to: A. Leave when tired B. Get in the water C. Water D. Say no Assign tasks according to skill level, always making safety the FIRST priority. Insure the comfort level of the team for the task at hand.

Public safety teams that are untrained and ill-equipped to handle water-related emergencies, expose themselves to untold risks. Firefighters, law enforcement officers and members of the search and rescue community can all become victims during search and rescue events. Rescuers are not immune! Stress that deaths of rescuers during rescue or recovery operations can happen in both still and moving waters.

Always consider the Risk/Benefit Analysis of every operation!
Rescuer safety is the first priority in any operation. In many cases the operation will transition from rescue to recovery. The search efforts may stop and be re-evaluated before proceeding in recovery mode. Consider the following: Is it safe to be here? Does the risk equal or exceed the benefit? What factors may effect a change in the operational plan?

The role of search teams is to facilitate clue location...
Only personnel appropriately trained in swiftwater rescue should enter the water to recover any object Have preplan in place for appropriate action prior to object location

Swiftwater rescue technicians may be required to safely retrieve objects from dangerous currents

There is safety in numbers
Never search alone; search teams should consist of three or more person/teams Searchers should have knowledge of self-rescue and victim-rescue techniques Exercise caution, continually re-evaluate the Risk/Benefit Analysis and be prepared to assist teammates in an emergency Be properly equipped Instruct students to stay with their search teams. Insure that all students are skilled in self-rescue and the rescue float. Teams of 3 or more allow for more eyes on the water and a higher margin of safety to assist other rescuers in need.

Shored-based Personal Protective Equipment
PFD with whistle & knife Environmental protection Gloves and boots Throwline bags Helmet. When operating near moving water, land-based searchers must be properly equipped with PPE mentioned here.

Water-based PPE for swiftwater rescue
Thermal protection PFD with knife & whistle Helmet Swiftwater rescue board Hand & foot protection Fins/mask/snorkel Throwline bags Stress the importance of securing all equipment to keep a streamlined and low profile to minimize the threat of entanglement or entrapment in the water. No loose straps! Mask and snorkel may help rescuer to visualize areas otherwise difficult to search.

Swiftwater team equipment
Throwline bags Line gun Tag line buoy Multi-chambered, inflatable boat Rope rescue equipment and hardware Communication equipment Additional PFDs & helmets Other specialized equipment Specialized equipment includes: 1st aid kit & oxygen Extra SWR boards Chemical strobes Lights Zip ties Hose inflation device

Search equipment includes...
Probe device Binoculars Polarized sunglasses Flagging & permanent marker Rope and climbing equipment GPS. Use rope or webbing to secure the victim. For victim retrieval a Body Recovery System © can be used.

Summary There are inherent dangers associated with moving water. Operating in such an environment can prove deadly for victim and rescuer alike. Preparation, proper training and equipment allow rescuers to accurately assess the Risk/Benefit Analysis of every operation.

Lesson 4: Scene Evaluation
The critical stage of search operations

Scene evaluation... Begins with the initial call for assistance but continues throughout the entire operational phase of the search Scenarios are a good way to practice scene evaluation. Keep in mind that as operations progress, situation continue to change. It is important to keep all members focused on the task at hand.

Start the process early
A systematic and objective size-up or assessment of the incident is particularly crucial at the onset of the search

A good scene evaluation identifies...
Incident type Location and access Time of occurrence Environmental conditions Resource needs Witness identification Ability to control water volume Test Question #3: When establishing the last scene point, the following should be determined: A. Victim’s last meal B. Number of witnesses C. Access D. Victim’s skin color Other considerations: Number of victims? Response mode-rescue or recovery? Response time? Weather conditions? Day vs. nighttime? Debris in search area? Equipment needs? Victim condition?

The primary operational objective is to establish a “Last Seen Point”

Determining the Last Seen Point (LSP)...
Physical evidence Witness interviews Reference objects vs. reference points Knowledge & experience as SWR scene evaluator Physical evidence might include an article of clothing, personal belonging (e.g.. fishing pole), slide marks or evidence of an exit. Reference point = fixing an imaginary line across a body of water by sighting a fixed object on the far shore. Used in conjunction with a witness interview, this technique helps to approximate an LSP. When visual lines from different witnesses intersect an LSP can be established. Reference object = in conjunction with an witness interview, this technique involves placing an object in the water (e.g.. Boat, swimmer, beach ball, etc.) in order to best visualize the exact LSP. This technique works best in non-moving or very slowly moving water. Use when possible and only when safe to do so.

Witness interview The witness interview is perhaps the most critical component of a scene evaluation and is essential for determining the LSP Test Question #12: Witnesses may tend to _____unless they are______. A. Go home, given money B. Be quiet, coerced C. Collaborate, separated D. Yell at the interviewer,controlled When establishing a last scene point, minimize collaboration by separating witnesses and interviewing them individually. Children are often credible witnesses, but usually respond better to a female interviewer. Remember to treat all family members and witnesses with compassion, as emotions will be running high.

A nine-year-old boy lost his life in this boulder sieve
Never underestimate the importance of establishing an accurate LSP Initial LSP Actual LSP A nine-year-old boy lost his life in this boulder sieve May, 2001; Rocky Mountain National Park; Estes Park, Colorado. River width approximately 50 feet. Maximum river depth 13 feet. A nine-year-old boy drowned with his parents only a few feet away when he was hoping from rock to rock and fell into a boulder sieve in the headwaters of the Big Thompson River. Rescuers arrived quickly, the boy’s parents were interviewed and an initial LSP was identified. Articles of clothing were soon located downstream. After two hours of searching, his parents were re-interviewed and a new LSP was determined just a few feet upstream. The boy’s body was found, wedged underwater just below the actual LSP. There was so much pinning force being applied from the water that an upstream highline system was used to extricate the body from the water. The witness re-interview was essential to accurately establishing the LSP! Location of Body View from river left. View from river right.

Witness interview Control and organize witnesses
Separate and interview individually Question thoroughly and methodically Don’t ask leading questions Go slow, stop & listen Qualify witnesses by order of importance. Remember that the most reliable witnesses may not be the boldest or most outspoken. Keep witnesses on scene if possible. If they have to go make sure the interviewer has their name, address and phone number(s) in case questions arise.

Establish a subject profile listing
Physical description Clothing type and colors Shoe pattern Equipment or personal items Intended plans Experience level, etc. “Paint a picture” of the missing person by finding out as much as you can.

“Last Known Activity” In cases involving an unwitnessed or poorly witnessed drowning, the last known activity may provide the only clue to the location of the body Activities could include hiking, kayaking, fishing, cliff jumping or swimming.

And most important Write it down!
Compile all statements, information and documented clues in a centralized collection point Use this material to develop a scene sketch for future reference Documentation of the scene may be helpful in cases that go to court or for future training purposes. If the incident goes unsolved, this information may help with later efforts to locate the victim and for future preplanning.

Components of scene sketch:
LSP- Last Seen Point Location of physical evidence Location of witnesses Permanent landmarks used to triangulate Access points (e.g. dock, boat ramp) Current speed Other components of a sketch include: Orientation (e.g. North) Date/time of incident & weather conditions Wind direction & speed (for dog purposes) Water depth, temperature and visibility Insure that all scenes are documented and that hazards and high probability areas have been mapped. Photograph site when possible. .

Summary Developing a thorough scene evaluation and determining an accurate Last Seen Point may be the most important tasks you will perform during the initial stage of any search operation.

Lesson 5: Establishing Operational Objectives
September 1999; Poudre Falls; Poudre Canyon Highway, Northern Colorado. Recovery operation to search for an retrieve body of kayaker who unintentionally went over the falls. His body was recovered several days later trapped behind the wall of water. Photo by Lucas Gilman

Search planning Is largely driven by information gathered during scene evaluation A successful search operation depends on an accurate assessment of the situation

Rescue vs. recovery search operations
The choice of tactics may vary during a search, especially in the initial phase The operational mode will help drive the tactical considerations and assist in Risk/Benefit Analysis

Initial search objectives…
Determine the LSP Evaluate the current’s capacity to move objects downstream Estimate size of search area Identify resource needs Identify potential hazards for rescuers Define/prioritize high probability areas Test Question #19: Search objectives include everything except: A. Determining the last scene point B. Estimating the size of the search area C. Search methods D. Lack of preplanning High probability areas: Consider strainers, hydraulics, etc. Make sure students can calculate the velocity to establish if another search area needs to be extended further downstream.

Ongoing search objectives…
Segment search area as needed Determine effective search methods necessary to thoroughly cover areas Assign resources according to skill level Perform ongoing evaluation of process Assign resources appropriately (based on resource type, training and experience). Things to consider: How much time has lapsed? Is there really something to search for? Did someone witness the accident? How good is the last scene point? Rule out “Rest-of-world” to determine possibility of subject being elsewhere (e.g. false report or staged disappearance).

The search should begin with an investigation of the Last Seen Point
always Never assume that the body of a missing victim has floated away until the LSP has been thoroughly searched Test Question #22: The search should always begin with an investigation of the: A. Victim’s annual income B. Last scene point C. Upstream at the location of last summer’s drowning D. Available equipment Although there are many cases where victims have been transported miles downstream from their entry point, far too often the LSP is initially overlooked.

Review of drowning characteristics...
Bodies tend to resist current less than 1.5 mph The body will generally drop to the bottom Current on the surface is greater than the bottom current Bodies of adult drowning victims generally weigh between 7 and 16 pounds in water Review: This slide provides information for making an estimation of victim location.

Identify all high probability areas and concentrate search first in sections where water slows down or where strainers and other objects may snag victim Search all areas of high probability first, moving back to the last scene point if necessary.

Remember... Environmental conditions may influence the probability of success Ask students: What environmental conditions exist locally that could effect your probability of success?

High probability areas include
LSP Strainers Boulder sieves Low head dams Bridge abutments Hydraulics Eddies Holes Where water slows down. Shoreline Sand bars River bends Review material to insure all students understand and can identify the various high probability areas.

Strainers Photo on left shows a fence full of debris acting much like a low head dam creating a dangerous strainer and a small hydraulic on the downstream side. Photo on right: What assumption can we make regarding the branches sticking out of the water?

Boulder sieves Water flows easily through and around but filters out larger solid objects (branches, logs, people, etc.).

Low head dams Low head dams often create dangerous hydraulics that can capture and hold objects inside the boil line.

Bridge abutments Bridge abutments have the potential to collect large amounts of debris around the footings which may remain unseen below the water surface. Beware of possible debris strainer on bridge abutments.

Natural and manmade hydraulics create areas of entrapment. The
Natural and manmade hydraulics create areas of entrapment. The upstream side of this rock could trap and pin an object while the eddy created on the downstream side may hold an object in the still water. *Advise students to change the title of this slide in their notes. Flow Dynamics

Have students identify both laminar and helical flows in this picture.
Areas of high probability include: Inside bend Helical flow Eddy Strainer Note faster moving water on outside of bend vs. inside of bend. How does this relate to victim travel or movement? Shorelines

Summary Understanding water dynamics, body characteristics in water, safety concerns and resource capabilities allows rescuers to determine areas of high probability and establish search priorities.

Lesson 6: Search Tactics

Search tactics may vary depending on circumstances of the event
Witnessed incident vs. unwitnessed vs. general missing persons report Rescue vs. recovery Risk vs. benefit. Safety of the rescuer is paramount!

Initial actions in rescue mode...
Establish an initial containment area based on current speed and time of incident Test Question #13: Initial actions in rescue mode include the establishment of: A. Water temperature and # of rescuers B. Water hazards and location of equipment C. Amount of potable water and weather conditions D. Current speed and time of incident

Contain and control... Assign hasty teams to search from LSP downstream Post containment teams downstream at bridges and other vantage points Assign additional teams to high probability areas Search banks for possible exit points downstream Test Question #8: Who should maintain in control at the scene? A. Victim’s father B. Police officer C. Team Leader D. Eyewitness Team Leader or Incident Commander must contain and control the situation.

Tactical considerations for every rescue team...
Are site conditions too dangerous to put anyone in the water? Are there sufficient resources available to cover the search area quickly and effectively? Is it possible for searchers to effectively cover the area? Will more manpower allow greater coverage in a shorter period of time? Test Question #5: In the field, trained search teams need not take the following into consideration.: A. Hazards present B. Number of trained swiftwater rescuers available C. Access to area D. Inventory of team equipment The swiftwater rescue team must be highly mobile to be effective. Make sure the team has the proper tools and training for the incident by asking yourself the following questions: Tactics required for the incident? Do we have the proper equipment? Do we need additional resources? What are the areas of highest probability? What is the size of our search area?

Ongoing concerns... As additional resources arrive, stagger teams throughout search area Assign teams based on experience level and search priorities Establish land-based searchers to assist swiftwater teams with object retrieval If available, assign dog teams to work LSP

Study every section from at least two vantage points
A slow, careful scan of the river is necessary. Study any irregularities in color, shade or shape of the surface Study every section from at least two vantage points Test Question #9: Every section of the river should be studied from at least _____ vantage points. A. 1 B. 3 C. 5 D. 2 Stress the differences of looking upstream and downstream. Make note of potential dive areas.

Probe search... Exercise extreme caution when working along the shore!
The ideal probe is a 7-foot, 3/4” aluminum pole Improvise as needed to meet the situation at hand Tap and “feel” the bottom with the pole from the downstream side

Search shorelines including vegetation along banks.

Search sharp bends or curves in the river and areas of natural entanglement or entrapment using a probe pole Test Question #14: Sharp bends or curves in the river and areas of natural entanglement or entrapment should be searched using: A. A tethered rescuer B. A net C. A probe pole D. A diving harness

Line searching may be effective where water is shallow and predictable
A canal or flood control ditch is a good location to implement this tactic. Using this technique, the bodies of two young boys were located in this canal.

Whenever possible, post an observer as an overseer and additional safety personnel downstream for the in-water search teams Post land-based observer to maintain overview perspective of swiftwater search area and the teams in the water. * Advise students to add “Whenever possible” to their notes.

Suggested team assignments
LSP DP 1 DP 2... Team 1 Team 3 Team 5 Team 7 Team 9 A B Current C In-water Teams Team 2 Team 4 Team 6 Team 8 Team 10 DP = Drop point. Teams ABC = In-water teams Teams 1-10 = shore-based teams Special note: This slide is intended only as a guide for resource deployment. Modification to this plan may be necessary based on resource availability, access to shoreline or size of search area. This model can be expanded or contracted as needed to fit the type of incident. Test Question #15: Swiftwater teams will work upstream from the last scene point and concentrate on areas of high probability. A. True B. False Three-person, in-water teams leap frog downstream with upstream person positioned as safety for the other two. Land-based teams work upstream and down to assure double coverage and observe area from two perspectives. Unassigned swiftwater teams should be available to investigate sightings by land-based teams. Swiftwater teams work down from LSP and concentrate on areas of high probability

Extended search operations...
Hasty search is followed up by a controlled, methodical search of the banks and river hydraulics Rule out “rest of world” Identify resource needs Ongoing scene evaluation Consider trained SAR dogs.

Dog teams Can be an effective resource
Train with dog teams in advance of incidents to fully understand their capabilities and limitations Test Question #24: All search dogs are adequate water scent dogs. A. True B. False Special note: Difficult terrain and inaccessible shorelines may create “holes” in coverage area. Swirling, unpredictable winds may affect good coverage. Challenges of terrain and wind: Warmer waters facilitate decomposition and improve scent pooling. Scent particles coming off the body raise toward the surface and are swept downstream. Gasses and scent particles entering the air will be carried upstream or down depending on wind direction. Scent pooling is possible above the LSP! Swirling winds may affect good coverage. Working rugged shoreline increases fatigue for dog and handler. Denied access to shoreline creates “holes” in coverage area.

Under certain conditions, the use of dogs in boats may be a tactic used to thoroughly search an isolated area of river. What type of technical boat based system is being used to control the boat in this canal?

It may be necessary to establish a transport system to move people and equipment from one side of the river to the other Examples include: Highline Boat ferry Nearby bridge

“Don’t just look for a body, search for clues!”
Tracks Disturbances in vegetation Articles of clothing Equipment Look for areas of exit from the water as well as entry points.

What to look for... Unfortunately moving water often appears as a confusion of colors, shades and shapes. When searching from shore the casual observer may not be able to identify a body even when it is not fully covered by water. Normal perceptions and expectations must be altered for a search of moving water.

Perceptions & expectations...
The body may blend into the color & textures of the surrounding environment Flesh tones tend to blend with white water Skin color may appear very white to luminous

Conditions often require a slow and methodical search of the area
Floating debris, strainers and overhanging branches can easily hide or camouflage a body in swiftwater Conditions often require a slow and methodical search of the area While it is necessary to have a good clothing and physical description of the victim, be aware that clothing and jewelry are often stripped away in the forces of moving water and the body may be nude Test Question #18: ________can easily hide or camouflage a body in swiftwater. A. Floating debris B. The last known activity C. A good witness interview D. A flock of birds

Far view A body in moving water may be difficult to see, especially from a distance Due to white water and other disturbances to the water surface, victims of river drowning are often hard to see. Unique aspects of terrain and associated body trauma may further camouflage the body. This victim is trapped against a rock. Near view

Once the body is located
Mark it… identify location with flagging, GPS, etc. Secure it... with rope if safe to do so Stay with it... remain with victim and monitor until recovery team arrives Test Question #20: Once a body is located you should not A. Mark it B. Secure it C. Stay with it D. Take a break Emphasize to secure the victim so the recovery team can easily identify where the body is located. This should be done only when safe to do so!

If there are suspicious circumstances surrounding the incident, take special precautions so as not to destroy evidence Photograph and record body position, obvious trauma, etc. Bag hands and feet

Considerations for family & media...
Have a preplan for action in place before the victim is found Assign a team member or “trained” victim’s advocate to the family Assign a team member or PIO as representative Quietly notify team and command staff PIO=Public Information Officer The victim’s advocate must be familiar with the trauma and decomposition associated with water operations in order to effectively council the family and advise them of the best time to view the body! Quietly notify team and Command Staff (using predetermined code). If possible, ask for mission time to alert the team that the victim has been found without alarming the media or family.

Trauma often associated with moving water fatalities...
Whenever possible, have the family escorted from the scene before the victim is removed from the water Encourage the family to wait until the body is at the morgue or hospital before viewing their loved one Consider the need for CISD CISD = Critical Incident Stress Debrief A CISD is often a great means through which team members can work through troubling emotional issues associated with traumatic rescue and recovery events.

If victim is not located...
Gas formation may occur days, weeks or months later and body refloat could move the victim outside the initial containment area. As a result, continual monitoring of the area over an extended period may be necessary.

Course Summary “The ultimate goal of any operation is to search effectively without placing search and rescuer personnel in harm’s way.” Ask students to identify the key points of the lesson. Preplan for incidents in your area. Train and equip. Wear proper PPE for task at hand. Perform thorough scene evaluation. Determine LSP and Last Known Activity. Conduct thorough witness interview. Take action to contain and control incident. Assign resources based on skill/ability. Always consider risk/benefit.

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