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Swift Water . Swiftwater. One of the most dynamic and dangerous areas of Special Operations Difficult to train for the real thing Our goal Knowledge Skills Come home safe. Rescue Philosophy. We Will Do Our Best to Save Savable Lives Remember We Did Not Put That Person at Risk

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Swift Water


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  1. Swift Water

  2. Swiftwater • One of the most dynamic and dangerous areas of Special Operations • Difficult to train for the real thing • Our goal • Knowledge • Skills • Come home safe

  3. Rescue Philosophy • We Will Do Our Best to Save Savable Lives • Remember We Did Not Put That Person at Risk • We Owe It to Ourselves and Our Families to Come Home Safe

  4. Rule Of Three 1 Self Rescue First 2 Teammate Second 3 Victim Third

  5. Hydrology

  6. Friend or…

  7. Or FOE !!!

  8. Hydrology • WATER MOVING DOWN A GRADIENT • RESPONDS TO THE CONFIGURATION OF THE STREAM CHANNEL IN PREDICTABLE WAYS

  9. Swift Water • Rivers • Creeks • Washes • Flood Control Channels

  10. Slow water • Most Canals

  11. Still Water • Lakes • Ponds • Retention Basins

  12. Characteristics of Swiftwater • Powerful • Relentless • Predictable

  13. 62 Powerful • Water Weights 62 Pounds Per Cubic Foot • That Mass Obeys the Laws of Physics • Moving Water Has Tremendous Energy

  14. Relentless • Unlike the Surf, the Force of Swift Water Does Not Let up • We Have Very Little Control Over the River • If You Are Trapped or Pinned You Have a Very Poor Chance of Survival

  15. Predictable • A Knowledgeable Rescuer Will Be Able to Read the River and Predict With Certainty Where Both Safety and Danger Lie

  16. FORCE = mass X VELOCITY SQUARED!!!

  17. FORCE ~ VELOCITY VELOCITY POUNDS POUNDS FT/S M.P.H ON LEGS ON BODY 5ft/S=3.4 M.P.H 16.8 33.6 10ft/S=6.8 M.P.H. 67.2 134 20ft/S=13.6 M.P.H. 269 538 Rule of thumb: Stay out of current over your knees

  18. Determine Velocity 100 FT MEASURE THE TIME IT TAKES AN OBJECT TO FLOAT 100 FT Note: with a 10mph current an object will travel one mile in six minutes

  19. Velocity influenced By… • Gradient (steepness) • Friction • Volume (CFS) • Channel Configuration bends constrictions obstructions

  20. Bank Erosion

  21. Volume - CFS DXWXV=CFS 5 FT/SEC 5 100 2500 CFS

  22. Flash Flood

  23. L R River Terminology • Our reference point will always be facing down river • River Left or River Right • Up River or Down River

  24. Laminar Flow FASTEST SLOWEST

  25. Helical Flow

  26. River Features • Down Stream V • Eddy • Eddy Line • Hydraulic • Up Stream V • Standing Waves • Bends

  27. AKA “The Tongue” usually indicates the main channel, deepest water

  28. Eddy – a horizontal Reversal of current

  29. Eddy's

  30. Eddy Line

  31. Hydraulic – a vertical reversal of water

  32. Hydraulic

  33. Up Stream V Usually indicates the presence of an obstruction

  34. Standing Waves

  35. How Standing waves are formed

  36. Low Head Dams Strainers Trees & Logs Fences Vehicles Bends Undercut Rocks Foot Entrapment Stationary Objects Panicked Swimmer Hypothermia Debris / Loads Hazards

  37. Low Head Dams

  38. Escape Route

  39. Strainers • The Most Dangerous Hazard on the River • Anything That Water Flows Through but a Person Wont • Avoid It or Climb Over It or You Will Drown