2 Water Rescue Need for water rescue awareness Most FD’s have some body of waterPotential for floodingMany water incidents require resources beyond capability of FDOperations and technician trainedProper PPETechnical rescue equipment2
3 NFPA 1670Water related disciplinesDiveIceSurfSwift water3
4 Hazards Associated with Water Rescue Firefighter (human) natureAction orientedNeed to do something nowMake rescue attempts without proper training or equipment4
5 Hazards Associated with Water Rescue (con’t) An average of 7 public safety rescuers die each year in water related incidents.WHY?Sound judgment, good reasoning, and disciplined plan of action was not followed.The temptation to enter an uncertain environment was too great.Lack of training and expertise in water related emergencies.5
6 Environmental Hazards Extreme temperaturesColdHypothermia, frostbite, equipment malfunctionsEffects ability to think clearly & fine motor skillsHeatHyperthermia, overheating in PPEUnderwater survival time lost in hot temperaturesExhaustion, dehydration6
7 Environmental Hazards (con’t) WeatherRain, snow, high winds, fogAccelerates hypothermiaIn still water, body heat is lost 25 times greater than in air at the same temperatureAquatic environmentAnimal life, fish, insectsPlant life, seaweedBiohazards, bacterial, viral7
13 Swift Water Operation Hazards Awesome, relentless power of moving waterStrainers & debrisStationary objectsHolesObstructionsAbove the water surfaceBelow the water surfaceUpstream “V”Downstream “V”13
16 EddiesCaused by an obstructions in the current that extend above the waters' surface. Upstream water flows around these obstructions leaving a void on the downstream side of the obstruction, causing the downstream to flow upstream to fill in the void behind the obstruction.
17 Upstream V’sUpstream V's should be noted as they indicate areas that may be trapping a subject against an obstacle. The Upstream V as shown in figure- 2 helps to indicate where the obstacle lies. Visible eddys downstream of an obstacle can be possible resting spots or dead zones that may be passively holding a subject from further travel down the waterway.
18 Downstream V’sDownstream V's are generated by water moving around several obstacles coming together in the path of least resistance. These downstream V's will contain some of the fastest moving water in the channel. If the subject does not become trapped, the downstream V's have the highest probability of containing the subject
19 Holes & PillowsHoles and Pillows are also indicators of a submerged or partially submerged obstacle. The pillow will lie upstream if the obstacle is completely below the surface of the water and downstream if the obstacle extends above the surface of the water. A hole is created by the void formed by water swirling around the obstacle. Water flows back into the hole to fill the void which may cause a strong flow of upstream current immediately following the obstacle.Local hazards play a large role in local waterway rescues. Holes as explained above can create a strong upstream current. Striking these upstream currents while traveling downstream may be equivalent to striking a solid surface. An extended head or neck could be easily injured if submitted to this abrupt change in water-flow direction.
20 Limb entrapmentLimb Entrapment is probably the most common hazard, where an arm or a leg becomes wedged into a rock or submerged debris and the body is held downstream by the force of the water.
21 For this reason if one finds himself trapped in a channel he should travel feet first with his feet high as is shown below.
22 Swift Water Operation Hazards (con’t) Current patternsLaminar flowHelical flowUpwellingEddiesBack currentHeavy downpoursMake quiet streams swiftwater22
23 Swift Water Operation Hazards (con’t) Water weight 62.4 lbs per cubic foot and typically flows downstream at 6 to 12 miles per hour.
24 Swift Water Operation Hazards (con’t) When a vehicle stalls in the water the water’s momentum is transferred to the car. For each foot the water rises, 500 lbs. of lateral force is applied to the automobile.
25 Swift Water Operation Hazards (con’t) But the biggest factor is buoyancy. For each foot the water rises up the side of the car, the car displaces 1500 lbs. of water. In effect, the automobile weighs 1500 lbs. less for each foot the water rises.
26 Swift Water Operation Hazards (con’t) Two Feet of WaterWill Carry Away MostAutomobiles!!!
27 Low Head Dam Hazards The killing / drowning machine Boil line Illusion Point where water breaks in two directionsIllusionCannot be perceived from upstreamDo not look dangerousHydraulicVertical whirlpoolAeration in the hydraulicCauses cavitation to boat props27
28 HydraulicsHydraulics form when water flowing over the top of the obstruction hits the water below creating a hole or depression which is filled in by the downstream water or backwash.Hydraulics are created both by natural and manmade objects.Natural hydraulics such as rocks, have an escape because of the non uniform surface and the flow of waterManmade hydraulics, such as low head dams, are to perfect and have a uniform flow from end to end with little chance of escape.The design of a low head dam will have a direct effect on the intensity of the hydraulic
31 Low Head DamsLow Head Dams are river obstacles that create a deadly trap for exposed subjects in the waterway. If the low head dam is sufficiently covered with water flow, a continuous "Hole" that extends across the waterway may be generated. If the subject makes it to the top surface he will be trapped between the Boil line and the dam by the flow of the intense backwash. If a subject is trapped in the recirculating water below the surface, he will quickly loose orientation and expire unless he can escape the motion. A possible escape route is shown below. A subject trapped in such a situation is in most critical need of outside action. A raft rescue or a helicopter static fly away is often the only reasonable chance the subject may have for survival.
32 Water Rescue PPEFirefighting helmets, boots, and turnout gear are NOT appropriate for water rescueProper PPE includes the followingWet suits / dry suits / exposure suitsThermal protectionPFD’s (whistle & knife & strobe light or light stick)Worn by all personnelIn or near waterOn a boatTaglines / lifelinesHelmet, gloves32
33 Cold Water Near Drowning Age of victimTemperature of waterBelow 70oFPatient could be below thermoclineLength of submersionUnder 90 minutesStill rescue modeQuality BLS & ALS treatment33
34 Size-up Scope, magnitude, type of water rescue incident Environmental factorsChange in weather conditionsLoss of daylightWater levelsCurrent changes34
35 Size-up (con’t) Assessment of hazards Location & number of victims Risk / benefit analysisRescue vs. recoveryAccess to scene35
36 Water Rescue Awareness Level Personnel May: Establish scene control Establish ICInitiate accountability & safetyEvaluate patient conditionCan patient assist with rescue?Activate Needed resources36
37 Water Rescue Awareness Level Personnel May: (con’t) Secure & interview witnessesKeep witnesses at sceneInterview witnesses separatelyCollect witnesses’ personal information37
38 Water Rescue Awareness Level Personnel May: (con’t) Establish last seen pointTriangulate with multiple witnessesUse a reference objectHole in ice is great last seen pointDon’t destroy it
39 Water Rescue Awareness Level Personnel May: (con’t) Identify number of victimsIdentify age and sex of victim, if possible
41 Water Rescue Beyond the awareness level AHJ must have emergency response planOperations & technician level personnelPolice & evidence techniciansSpecialized equipmentBoats, tow trucks, etc.EMS responseAmbulance for patient(s)Ambulance for diversAeromedical transport41
42 Scene Considerations Rehab personnel early Operational plan Reach, throw, row, go42
43 Scene Considerations Request divers early in an incident Victims at the surface may submergeKeep incident operating in rescue mode
44 Water Rescue Summary Recognize the need for water search and rescue. Describe implementing the assessment phase. Identify the resources necessary to conduct safe and effective water rescue operations.Identify the emergency response system for water rescue emergencies. 44
45 Water Rescue SummaryIdentify the site control and scene management procedures at water rescue incidents.Identify the general hazards associated with a water rescue incident. Identify the rescue vs. recovery mode when concerned with a cold water near drowning patient. 45
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