Water Rescue Need for water rescue awareness Most FD’s have some body of water Potential for flooding Many water incidents require resources beyond capability of FD Operations and technician trained Proper PPE Technical rescue equipment 2
NFPA 1670 Water related disciplines Dive Ice Surf Swift water 3
Hazards Associated with Water Rescue Firefighter (human) nature Action oriented Need to do something now Make rescue attempts without proper training or equipment 4
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
Environmental Hazards Extreme temperatures Cold Hypothermia, frostbite, equipment malfunctions Effects ability to think clearly & fine motor skills Heat Hyperthermia, overheating in PPE Underwater survival time lost in hot temperatures Exhaustion, dehydration 6
Environmental Hazards (con’t) Weather Rain, snow, high winds, fog Accelerates hypothermia In still water, body heat is lost 25 times greater than in air at the same temperature Aquatic environment Animal life, fish, insects Plant life, seaweed Biohazards, bacterial, viral 7
General hazards Utilities Electric, gas, sanitary, communications Hazardous materials Personal hazards – water’s edge Tripping, falling Steep, slippery terrain Drop-offs Holes Hidden obstructions Cause injury, entanglement 8
Dive Operation Hazards Barotraumas Decompression sickness Nitrogen narcosis Oxygen toxicity Embolism Drowning Fatigue Lost diver Loss of air Anxiety reactions 9
Ice Operation Hazards Cold injuries Frostbite Hypothermia Thin ice Sudden immersion reflex Entrapment under ice 11
Surf Operation Hazards Breaking waves Generate extreme force Undertows, tides, current 12
Swift Water Operation Hazards Awesome, relentless power of moving water Strainers & debris Stationary objects Holes Obstructions Above the water surface Below the water surface Upstream “V” Downstream “V” 13
Eddies Caused 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.
Upstream V’s • Upstream 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.
Downstream V’s • Downstream 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
Holes & Pillows • Holes 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.
Limb entrapment Limb 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.
For this reason if one finds himself trapped in a channel he should travel feet first with his feet high as is shown below.
Swift Water Operation Hazards (con’t) Current patterns Laminar flow Helical flow Upwelling Eddies Back current Heavy downpours Make quiet streams swiftwater 22
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.
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.
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.
Swift Water Operation Hazards (con’t) Two Feet of Water Will Carry Away Most Automobiles!!!
Low Head Dam Hazards The killing / drowning machine Boil line Point where water breaks in two directions Illusion Cannot be perceived from upstream Do not look dangerous Hydraulic Vertical whirlpool Aeration in the hydraulic Causes cavitation to boat props 27
Hydraulics Hydraulics 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 water Manmade 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
Low Head Dams Low 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.
Water Rescue PPE Firefighting helmets, boots, and turnout gear are NOT appropriate for water rescue Proper PPE includes the following Wet suits / dry suits / exposure suits Thermal protection PFD’s (whistle & knife & strobe light or light stick) Worn by all personnel In or near water On a boat Taglines / lifelines Helmet, gloves 32
Cold Water Near Drowning Age of victim Temperature of water Below 70oF Patient could be below thermocline Length of submersion Under 90 minutes Still rescue mode Quality BLS & ALS treatment 33
Size-up Scope, magnitude, type of water rescue incident Environmental factors Change in weather conditions Loss of daylight Water levels Current changes 34
Size-up (con’t) Assessment of hazards Location & number of victims Risk / benefit analysis Rescue vs. recovery Access to scene 35
Water Rescue Awareness Level Personnel May: Establish scene control Establish IC Initiate accountability & safety Evaluate patient condition Can patient assist with rescue? Activate Needed resources 36
Water Rescue Awareness Level Personnel May: (con’t) Secure & interview witnesses Keep witnesses at scene Interview witnesses separately Collect witnesses’ personal information 37
Water Rescue • Awareness Level Personnel May: (con’t) • Establish last seen point Triangulate with multiple witnesses Use a reference object Hole in ice is great last seen point Don’t destroy it
Water Rescue • Awareness Level Personnel May: (con’t) • Identify number of victims • Identify age and sex of victim, if possible
Water Rescue Awareness Level Personnel May: (con’t) Evaluate physical evidence Notes Clothes Footprints Tire tracks Debris Oil slick Bubbles 40
Water Rescue Beyond the awareness level AHJ must have emergency response plan Operations & technician level personnel Police & evidence technicians Specialized equipment Boats, tow trucks, etc. EMS response Ambulance for patient(s) Ambulance for divers Aeromedical transport 41
Scene Considerations Rehab personnel early Operational plan Reach, throw, row, go 42
Scene Considerations • Request divers early in an incident • Victims at the surface may submerge • Keep incident operating in rescue mode
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
Water Rescue Summary Identify 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