Are You Ready for the Hurricane Season?
Hurricane Ivan (Photo: NOAA)
David Pease, Carolina Fire/Rescue/EMS Journal
This is not a long article on swiftwater rescue, but a short reminder that Hurricane season is upon us. This year is predicted to be a very busy one, which could have an effect on us all. Our Team spent our June Training brushing up on our swiftwater skills. The following week, tropical storm Alberto dropped almost record amounts of rain, and spot flooding was seen from Wake County eastward. Perhaps an early wake up call for us all.
If your department has swiftwater technicians, this is a good time to brush up and hone your skills. Get your equipment checked and ready, so your response capabilities are at their best.
If you are like most departments, your folks have some minimal water training, but not for a full scale swiftwater response. This is a good time to get your members trained to at least an awareness level. Everyone needs to know the hazards that arise during flood and swiftwater operations. Conditions present themselves that can be fatal to those that are unaware of the circumstances they could be in. We do not want to lose any rescuers to swiftwater operations this coming year, or any year. Take the time to practice throw ropes and non-entry rescue techniques. Learn the hazards of moving water, strainers, and hydraulics. Do not attempt to make rescues you are not trained or equipped to make. We all want to help those in need, but please don’t do it at the expense of your own life or those of your department.
Remember we all have limitations, and we should recognize them and accept them. Having someone else come in and do rescues is not such a terrible thing, especially if it prevents injuries or loss of life to members of our own department. We are all here to do the same job, and work together to get that job done. Egos, pride, and self righteousness, have no place in the rescue world. It is all about “Team” work.
So as I climb down from my soapbox, I hope everyone works together to make our rescue efforts safe and successful. Train hard to prepare yourself for what might lie ahead, so that you return safely home from every mission, smarter and wiser than you were before.
David has over 27 years experience in the EMS and Rescue field. He is a NC certified ERT Instructor, confined space specialist Instructor, trench rescue specialist Instructor, Rope specialist Instructor, former NC Paramedic and Paramedic Instructor, NC Certified Law Enforcement Instructor, CPR Coordinator and Instructor for Wake Technical Community College, certified diver, teaches with over 7 community colleges, and is Chief of the Reds Team, a technical rescue operations team providing response and training to other agencies and industry. David also writes for Advanced Rescue Technologies magazine. David can be emailed at Reds100@aol.com or visit their website at www.RedsTeam.com.