Flashcards in Water rescue and safety when working near, on or in water. PN 581 Deck (47)
1.2 Water operations are divided into the following 3 levels of response:
Level 1 water operations
– Operations where firefighters work within 3m of an unprotected waters edge, or enter water that is both shallow enough not to compromise their PPE (i.e. over the top of their fire boots) and slow moving enough that there is no foreseeable risk that they will be swept off their feet.
Level 2 water operations
Operations where firefighters may have to commit to water (still or moving) to affect a rescue. This includes all incidents involving people in the water and any other incidents beyond the limitations of level 1. These incidents present specific hazards and will in all but exceptional circumstances only be carried out by Fire Rescue Unit (FRU) Swift Water Rescue Technicians (SRT) who have the training and equipment to implement safe systems of work
Level 3 water operations
Operations which involve the deployment of the Flood Response Kits (FRK) where firefighters may be required to work under the guidance of FRU SRT near, on or in flood water. This equipment will normally be deployed for flooding over a wide area but it can also be used for more localised floods where significant numbers of firefighters need to be committed to the water.
What is TAR
(TAR-tactical advisor rescue)
2.1 Inland water can be broadly defined under two headings:
Still water – is a body of water that is usually contained and has no visible movement.
Moving water – is a body of water which, in either its normal state or in its heightened state, has noticeable surface movement.
2.3 In the context of water operations unstable surfaces include
mud, ice, partially frozen water or any surface that requires specialist training and the specialist equipment carried on water-capable FRUs to implement a safe system of work.
Hazards associated with water
• Surface movement.
• Strength of current/flow.
• Presence of undercurrents or eddies, whirlpools, weirs, stoppers.
• Depth of water.
• Size of the body of water.
• Temperature of water/air.
• Water clarity (due to mud silt, rocks etc).
• Pollution/contamination/biological risks.
• Entrapment in or under the water (due to, trees, fencing, cars, roots, weeds and rocks etc).
• Moving vessels and debris in the water.
• Drain covers and other surfaces becoming dislodged in flooding incidents.
• Unexpected change in flow.
• Sluice gates
Hazards associated with water rescues and operations near water
• Noise and compromised communication.
• Poor access, steep banks.
• Slippery surfaces and trip hazards.
• Electrical hazards (overhead power lines, live power supplies in flooded basements etc).
• Manual handling injuries caused by over-reaching, pulling and lifting.
• Inadequate levels of light.
• Panicking casualties causing difficulties for the rescuer/s.
• Bystander pressure This should be alleviated by crews demonstrating maximum activity when exercising the hierarchy of rescue to the limit of training and equipment until further resources arrive
4.3 As per Policy number 800 – Management of operational risk information it is essential to make sure systems are in place to identify and inspect locations where crews may have to carry out water operations in order to identify:
• the location and any name by which the site is known;
• access points for appliances and personnel;
• approach routes and RVPs for appliances;
• water depth and how this might vary;
• flow rates (normal and heightened);
• known subsurface hazards;
• any recorded occurrences of infection;
• physical hazards in, on or near the water (weirs, locks etc.)
it is important to remember that the gathering of information can be from a variety of sources from within the brigade and other agencies
(e.g. Hazardous Materials and Environmental Protection (HMEP), Scientific Advisor, local fire safety team, Local Authority, cross border brigades and the public). For sites involving water, agencies such as the Environment Agency, Thames Water, the Port of London Authority and the Canal and Rivers Trust as well as Local Authorities will hold information that can inform contingency planning. A Tactical Advisor Rescue has the training and access to Met Office and EA data sets, in particular, to aid this process
6.4 To assist with the formulation of clear objectives and an operational plan the following is a guide to the information that should be sought from witnesses
• The number of people involved.
• Where the casualty was last seen.
• Whether the casualty was wearing a life jacket.
• What clothing the casualty was dressed in.
• Information on hazards that may pose a threat to crews entering water e.g. undercurrents, downstream weirs, and subsurface debris.
Level 1 water operations
Initial actions and working near water
7.1 These are operations where firefighters work within 3m of unprotected water or where firefighters enter water to conduct operations to a depth where there is no danger of them being swept off their feet and their structural firefighting PPE is not compromised i.e. water entering over the top of fire boots
7.6 The minimum PPE for any firefighter entering water to affect a rescue is:
• Full firefighting kit.
• Personal floatation device (PFD).
Fire helmets should be removed unless there is risk of head injury, e.g. low branches. If the fire helmet is worn the chin strap should be left unfastened.
7.9 When working near moving water the IC should nominate and position
“spotters” upstream and downstream.
Downstream spotters should be equipped with throw lines.
In addition the IC should appoint a safety officer and consider ordering a FRU for extra bank side safety.
Firefighters not trained in Swiftwater rescue
may only be committed to water to carry out a rescue, as a very last resort, when the situation is so critical that to await the arrival of further resources is likely to result in the loss of human life.
7.13 Before a firefighter (non SRT) enters the water to affect a rescue the incident must be escalated to a level 2 water operation and the following control measures must be in place
• A firefighter who is considered competent and capable
• All personnel must be fully briefed
A floating safety line supervisor must be in place.
• Anyone entering the water must be rigged correctly
• Consider using inflated fire hose
• Effective communications
• Keep noise to a minimum around the area of operations to facilitate clear verbal communications
• Personnel to enter the water slowly to minimise cold water shock
• Gauge the depth of the water and reduce the chance of injury
• The floating safety line supervisor is to monitor the rescuer for signs of distress and if they appear in distress or become unresponsive to withdraw rescuer immediately.
• Any Firefighter committed to the water should be replaced by FRU SRT as soon as practicable. • Send priority message detailing what actions have been taken and requesting appropriate additional resources.
7.16 Following a risk assessment, IC’s in conjunction with the FRU Crew Commander or TRA should consider the following.
• Location of casualty.
• Access to casualty.
• Stabilisation of casualty.
• Extrication of casualty.
• Transportation of casualty.
. A wade rescue is defined as:
Where circumstances dictate, it may be necessary to enter the water and then carry out a “Reach” or “Throw” rescue
7.18 The final three types of water rescue can ONLY be carried out by FRU SRTs.
7.20 FRU SRTs carrying out a wade, row, or go/tow rescues must wear full water rescue PPE consisting of
• Water rescue helmet.
• Thermal under clothing as required
7.27 The use of the ERB’s on the tidal River Thames is a useful asset when involved in or implementing a planned search method, for the following but not exhaustive reasons;
(a) Size and manoeuvrability.
(b) Provide crew access to areas such as under piers, jetties and around static objects such as houseboats. (c) The lightweight design of the craft also allows launching to be facilitated from access points other than slipways
7.29 The tidal part of the River Thames within the LFB area stretches from:
• the most westerly point; Teddington Lock Route Card 63Ka 122 H41 Kingston ground;
• to the most Easterly point at Dayton Drive Route Card 50Md 89 E27 Erith ground.
7.30 The non tidal part of the River Thames within the LFB area stretches from:
• the most westerly point; Fordbridge Road Route Card 68Aa 121 H43 Twickenham ground;
• the most easterly point; Teddington Lock Route Card 63Ka 122 H41 Kingston ground.
on scene co-ordinator
7.44 The use of the ERB at operational incidents will cease when either
• All rescues have been achieved.
• The prevailing conditions on the tidal Thames have deteriorated to such an extent that the IC determines that further operations are unsafe.
• The area of operations has been thoroughly searched and crew(s) have not located any casualties for a minimum of 90minutes after the casualty was seen dropping below the surface of the water.
• On the instruction of the MCA or the MPS.
• When agreed at a Silver meeting between all agencies involved. Once the ERB has been removed from the river, it must be thoroughly washed using a hose reel before it is re stowed in the valise on the appliance.
7.57 If the initial call was not to an ice related incident, the initial IC must send the priority message
“Implement water operations procedure level-2, rescue path required”.
When Brigade Control receives this message they will order two FRUs with BT and Path attribute and mobilise a TRA and SM.
7.60 It is vital that the IC considers the following when formulating a plan:
• If tidal, the state of tide (rising or falling) – available from brigade control.
• Condition of the casualty.
• Distance to the casualty.
• Mud borne hazards (sharp objects and debris).