# Water Rescue Awareness

## Presentation on theme: "Water Rescue Awareness"— Presentation transcript:

Water Rescue Awareness

Some quick statistics King County in 2006 31 people drowned
Of these 21 took place in open water Most occurred in June and July- almost 30% of them in June. WA State in 2005 104 unintentional drowning deaths. Drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional death for Children ages 17 and younger.

continued Costs: One drowning death can be associated with up to \$3 million in total costs, according to the National Safety Council.

Basic characteristics of moving water
Powerful Relentless Predictable Test Question #2: Name two characteristics of moving water: A. Powerful and fast B. Deep and challenging C. Relentless and predictable D. Cold and unpredictable Water has different personality traits that can change based on: speed water amount bed construction bank formation.

Learn to respect the forces associated with moving water.
Before Big Thompson Flood Colorado, July 31, 1976 32,800 cfs during the flood and ~400 cfs normally After

Laminar flow Layers of moving water which are slower on the bottom and along the banks (due to increased friction) Moving water is faster toward the center, midstream and on the outside of bends

Laminar flow Outside Bend Straight Section Fastest Fast Slow Slowest Water layers slow near the bottom and along banks due to friction Laminar flow refers to how the current travels downstream. Several layers of water will be moving together at different speeds. Faster water is usually located near the center of the river just below the surface. Faster water should NOT have a wider path on the outside of a curve. Things floating top river center are more likely to travel greater distances.

Helical flow A circular flow of water along the bank forcing water to midstream Phenomenon caused by friction between current and debris and material on the bank Test Question #4: Water flows down a river bed in two forms, laminar and ____________. A. Hydraulic B. Hydroform C. Helical D. Heliform Helical flow: water traveling along the banks of the river. The friction between the water and the banks will cause the water to spiral downstream between the banks and main current.

Helical & Laminar flow Laminar Flow Helical Flow
Helical flows can be used by the rescuer to move upstream with little effort. Helical flows can also be areas of safe refuge and provide a place to rest. Helical flow is an area of high probability when searching for victims or other evidence materials. 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 #5: Moving water is normally fastest at A. River center, close to the surface B. Upstream of an eddy C. In a hydraulic or hole D. Below a low head dam

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 I knot = 1.15 mph. This will give you a quick reference to determine potential downstream travel. * Advise students to add the “Seconds” column to their notes. Velocity: measured in feet per second

Force of moving water Rule of thumb...
Water Velocity x 2 = Water Force x 4 Test Question #9 When the water velocity doubles, the force of the water goes up by: A. 2 B. 3 C. 4 D. 5 All personnel must have the knowledge and a clear understanding of the power of water. It doesn’t take much velocity to create considerable force, which can overcome a victim or rescuer. The force can also knock you down and/or pin and trap you. (double the velocity = quadruple the force)

Forces exerted by moving water...
The force exerted on an object in water is proportional to the surface area that is exposed to the force. Double velocity, quadruple the force lbf =Pounds of Force The force trapping a body depends on the amount of surface area exposed. Moving water creates tremendous forces that have the power to move cars, boulders, etc. Rescuers must consider the amount of force not only on themselves but when retrieving victims as the surface area will be double or more. This also needs to be mentioned when considering live bait rescue. The forces are increased when the rescuer make positive contact with a victim. This has a profound effect on the shore personnel holding the rope. River Rescue, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, 1980

Rivers in Flood

Classifications of water
Are in reference to that particular body of water based on normal flows and are not compared to other water systems Are used in relation to describe the conditions for recreational use of that particular body of water Only apply when that body of water is within its banks

Categories of swiftwater
Class I Class II Class III Class IV Class V Class VI Few obstructions, very small waves Easy rapids up to 3 feet wide, obvious clear channels High irregular waves, narrow channels, requires scouting Difficult long rapids, turbulent water requires scouting, rescue is difficult Violent long rapids, scouting is mandatory, extremely dangerous rescue Almost impossible to navigate, rescue is almost impossible Test Question #7: Class IV swiftwater can be described as: A. Very violent long rapids, mandatory scouting, rescue extremely dangerous. B. High irregular waves with narrow channels. C. Almost impossible to navigate, rescue almost impossible. D. Difficult long rapids with turbulent water, difficult rescue.

Rivers in flood Most rivers have a normal water level or range of normal levels of flow depending on dry spells, recent storms or spring run off but the river flow stays within its banks and is relatively predictable. Floods, however, are outside of the usual range of river conditions, because in flood, a river overtops its banks, begins to flow through the flood plain and in the process becomes less predictable and more dangerous.

Rivers in flood continued
The size and power of the river are both greatly increased, as is its carrying capacity Almost all of the river hazards become much more dangerous during a flood and there are often additional hazards due to the flood Flood waters are laden with debris, which can clog intakes and foul propellers on rescue boats Trees and other large heavy objects join the river’s flow

Rivers in flood continued
Water flows through things on the flood plain like trees, fences, brush and debris, which greatly adds to the danger of being “strained” As the river flows through “civilized” areas like streets, fields, and neighborhoods, the danger of contamination from pesticides, fecal matter, dead livestock, and ordinary household as well as industrial chemicals greatly increases

Rivers in flood continued
Eddies and eddy lines become a danger Eddies are wide Eddy fences are high and can become difficult to cross The eddies themselves are rapidly-moving whirlpools from which escape is difficult

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 #3: Orientation on a river is made in _____ basic directions. A. 4 B. 3 C. 2 D. 1 River orientation is always relative to facing downstream. Four (4) basic directions from river center. *Advise students that some labels in the river drawings in their notes did not print and they may want to add labels to their drawings. Upstream

Site reference Upstream References remain the same even when the perspective is reversed River Right River Center References stay the same no matter which way you’re facing! Current River Left Downstream

Basic communication on the water
One whistle blast Attention on me Two whistle blasts Attention upstream Three whistle blasts Attention downstream Four or more whistle blasts Attention on me, either myself or someone else is in trouble

Rescuer 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. Remind students that swiftwater rescue is dangerous. They always have the right to say NO!

Rescuer Safety ultimately depends on Training and Education “Common sense” may lead you astray!
Rescuers must always remember rescue priorities: 1. Self rescue/safety 2. Rescue of or assurance of the safety of other team members 3. Rescue/recover victim “Common sense” for example, might suggest that tying a line to a rescuer and swimming out into moving water is a good idea when in fact such a practice is extremely dangerous and has lead to the many deaths. Decision making must be backed by education and training. Clear, rational thinking is necessary. Don’t let emotions direct the decision making process.

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.

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.

Rescuer/entrant priorities
Fellow team members Victim Property

Always use the SANE approach to swiftwater rescue!
S imple approach A dequate backup N ever take chances E liminate the “beat the water” attitude Test Question #1: In the SANE approach to swiftwater rescue, the “S” stands for: A. Shore personnel B. Shouldn’t take chances C. Swimming the river is dangerous D. Simple approach Test Question #22: In the SANE approach to swiftwater rescue, the “E” stands for: A. Examine personnel B. Eliminate the “beat the water” attitude C. Evaluate cost D. Enter the water Maintain a step by step approach in all aspects of the operation.

Any waterborne operation must be treated the same if the water environment poses a hazard to personnel entering the water. The situation does not have to be a rescue situation to be dangerous to the entrants.

Before any rescuer (entrant) enters the water always ensure that:
Upstream spotters are in place. Downstream safety/containment teams are in place. Rescuers have all of the appropriate safety gear on.

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

Public safety personnel 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. Do not only focus on in water operations, many times victims exit the water on their own and need assistance but get overlooked initially because rescue teams focus on searching the water only Have preplan in place for appropriate action prior to object location.

There is safety in numbers
Never search alone; search teams should consist of three or more person/teams (optimal). 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 Throw line bags (at least 2 per person if available) Helmet When operating near moving water, land-based searchers must be properly equipped with PPE mentioned here.

Shored-based Personal Protective Equipment cont.
Remember No bunker gear No fire helmets If you have a choice between no helmet and a fire helmet, go with no helmet. Fire helmets are designed to protect from falling debris, not falling down.

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.

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.

Victim rescue Scene assessment Safety first Evaluate Risk/Benefit
Victim contact Make attempt to talk with victim Always choose rescue methods that provide the highest degree of effectiveness while minimizing the risk to the rescuer. In order to minimize the risk to the rescuer, choose only those tactics that have been proven and practiced.

As a rescuer... Never tie yourself (or a victim) to a rope when working in moving water Never tie a line across the river, perpendicular to the flow, in hopes of catching a victim Never enter swiftwater wearing firefighter turnout or bunker gear Remember, specialized ice rescue suits are not designed for swiftwater In reference to being tied off in moving water: The force of moving water will tension the line, push anything tied to it under the water and hold it there as long as the line remains under tension. SPECIAL NOTE: Some students may be aware of a swiftwater rescue technique referred to as a “Live Bait Rescue”. This rescue method involves the rescuer attached to a rope with a quick release that is woven into the buckle of the PFD. The rescuer enters the water, secures the victim and pendulums to shore. In the event of a problem, the rescuer escapes by releasing the buckle and freeing themselves from the tether. The “Live Bait Rescue Technique” will not be discussed in SWR1 class. It is considered a specialized tactic with limited application. Obstructions along the bank or in the water prevent the safe deployment of rescuers using this technique. Flood operations or white water are extremely dangerous environments with a high probability of entanglement. It is advised that rescuers not attempt this technique under these conditions.

Rescue Methods in order of preference...
Reach Throw Row Go Helo Test Question #16: Arrange the following in the proper rescue sequence that should be carried out at the scene of a water rescue: 1. Throw (rescue ring, throwline) 2. Reach (pike pole, fire hose, branch or stick) 3. Go (rescuer in the water with proper equipment and training) 4. Row (inflatable boat with motor or tether system) Choices: A. 2, 1, 3, 4 B. 3, 4, 1, 2 C. 2, 1, 4, 3 D. 3, 2, 1, 4

“Reach” Method Simple technique used when the victim is close to shore
Makes use of any object that can be extended to the victim for them to hold Victim must be able to assist in rescue by holding on to object extended to them Maintains high degree of safety for rescuer The REACH method minimizes the threat to the rescuer while still achieving a high degree of success. Allows the rescuer to stay warm, safe and dry. Examples of reach devices include: Pike pole, hose, branch, jumper cables, antennae, paddle, etc.

“Throw” Method Throw method is used when distance to victim exceeds ability to use the reach method Method limited by distance and throwing accuracy of the rescuer Victim must be able to assist in rescue by holding on to object thrown to them Still maintains high degree of safety for rescuer The victim MUST be able to assist for this method to be effective! Effective range is generally limited to feet. Effectiveness drops substantially when distances exceed 75 feet. Throw devices include: Rescue ring, throwline, line gun, etc. Other improvised throw devices include… Cooler Picnic jug Spare tire Boat seat cushion

Water rescue throwline bags
There is a right way... …and a wrong way. The top, left picture is correct while the lower left picture is incorrect. Never place your hand through the loop of the throwline rope. Instead, place the loop over the thumb, wrap around the back of the hand and back through the palm of the hand. Then form a fist to secure the rope. In this fashion, if an emergency arises, simply open the hand and the rope will immediately release.

Water rescue throwline bags
Throwline bags are a highly effective tool in swiftwater rescue Easy tool to master but requires some practice Dynamics of throw bag use: stay on shore stay on the move coach victim Terrain considerations/victim access Throw the bag just above the head and shoulders on the upstream side of the victim. If your throw is slightly off, the line will drift quickly downstream into the victim’s reach. Do not throw the line downstream of the victim. This is much more difficult to reach as the victim will have to swim after a rope that is quickly floating away. It is best to have more than one throw bag available. If you miss on the first throw or the line becomes entangled, there will be another readily available to attempt another throw. Rule of thumb, “If you grab one throwline bag, grab two”. If multiple rescuers are available, coordinate your efforts and have the upstream rescuer make the first throw attempt followed up by the downstream rescuer(s).

Throwline bags Coach victim onto their back with the line coming across their shoulder. Victim must keep feet pointed downstream. Pendulum victim to shore. Depending of the characteristics of the victim and the force of the current at work, a dynamic (or walking) belay may be necessary to bring the victim to shore and keep their head above water.

“Row” Method This method enables rescuers to close the gap between victim and the shore Incorporates use of watercraft and allowing rescuers a safe approach to victim A reach, throw or go rescue can now be attempted Allows for working platform to be brought to the victim. This method is limited by the rate of flow and by obstructions and other hazards (strainers, boulder sieves, etc.). Depending on location, water craft may be tethered or motorized.

“Go” Method Most dangerous method of victim rescue
Requires approach and direct contact with victim in water Last resort when reach and throw methods will not work or the victim is unable to help themselves Places rescuer in greatest danger Decision to “go” requires an accurate assessment of the victim and potential dangers of the situation This method may be necessary when victim is unable to help self. Requires an accurate assessment of victim and hazards. Is rescuer capable of safely entering the environment? Is rescuer able to secure and control victim? Is rescuer in danger from down-stream hazards? Rescuer must enter water properly prepared with proper equipment and training. Approach victim from rear or extend a swiftwater rescue board for them to grab onto. Then tow the victim to safety.

“Helo” method This method should only be used as a last resort
The use of helicopters, while effective for trained personnel (i.e. Coast Guard), may not be as effective for the average rescue operation due to the lack of training between the various agencies involved in the operation

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.