Ch 14. Subspecialty: Water Rescue Water rescue is any incident that involves the removal of victims from any body of water other than a swimming pool. Floods are the most common of all natural disasters and gener- ally cause greater mortality than any other natural hazard. Hazards Associated with Water Rescue Human nature: The “need to do something now” can prompt people to make rescue attempts without proper training or equipment. Environmental: Hazards can involve extreme temperatures; cold affects ability to think clearly and hampers fine motor skills; heat exhaustion and dehydration are a concern as well. Weather: Accelerates hypothermia. In still water body heat is lost 25 times faster than in air at the same temperature. Aquatic environment: Be aware of animal life, fish, insects, plant life, seaweed, biohazards, bacterial, and viral risks. Dive option hazards: These include barotrauma, decompression sickness, nitrogen narcosis, oxygen toxicity, embolism, fatigue, loss of air, anxiety reactions. Ice operation hazards: Cold injuries such as frostbite or hypothermia; thin ice with sudden immersion reflex or entrapment under ice. Swift water operation hazards: Strainers and debris, holes, obstructions above or below the water surface. Safety of a Rescuer – “Throw, Don’t Go” Jumping in the water to rescue a victim is the last resort. Avoid getting into a dangerous situation. Your safety is priority. Water Rescue PPE Wet suits/dry suits/exposure suits Thermal protection PFDs include a whistle, knife, strobe light, or light stick worn by all personnel in or near water or on a boat Lifelines, helmet, gloves Rescue Plan of Action & Methods First unit on scene sizes up the situation and determines the number and condition of patients. If rescue is deemed necessary, consider the need for additional personnel and equipment. Secure the immediate area to prevent an increase of victims. Assess hazards, location, and number of victims. Before com- mencing extraction, yell clear and simple instructions to the victim. Ensure firm footing and remember the victim is in duress and may pull rescuers into the water. REACH Step 1: Reach with an outstretched arm, leg, or other tool (long stick/scarf/clothes) from a crouched or lying position. DO NOT enter water any deeper than knee deep, unless tethered. WADE Step 2: Test the depth with a long stick before wading in and then use the stick to reach out. Hold on to someone else or the bank. THROW
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