Paramedics in my county are taking a beating for NOT diving into a pond to save two guys that were trapped in a sinking SUV. Bystanders are critical because the medics were first on scene and didn't "jump in" to save a life. EMS says that the medics are not trained or equipped for water rescue (true) and involving themselves in rescues are not within their scope. I believe that they did the right thing. The first rule of rescue is don't become a victim. Our medics usually dont involve themselves because if they are hurt, who's gonna take care of the victim?
This is one of those nightmare situations. The type that will probably haunt those paramedics for a long time. They did the right thing as hard as I'm sure it was. I imagine that everyone of them wished like crazy they could get to the victims, and the fact that they chose not to tells me the scene was unsafe. I dont need a report to prove that. If any of them felt it then it was so. To think they most likely are struggling internally with it and then to have the community turn on them is so very sad and harsh. I hope they can find peace in the fact that they were within their scope of practice and the lives they saved that day were their own, and through that the lives of many more people because they will continue on to be paramedics.
Another good necroposting topic, given that Hurricane Sandy is getting ready to nail the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast areas.
A few rules for water rescues, especially Swiftwater or Flood Waters...
Always wear a PFD if you are near, in, on, over, or around the water.
Plan to swim so that you can survive if you do.
Don't wear any part of your turnout gear near or in the water. If it helped you swim, Michael Phelps would wear turnouts in the Olympics. There's a reason he doesn't.
If you go out in a boat, have a plan to come back without the boat. (Engines quit at the WORST times)
Don't tie a rope around yourself and wade into moving water. The river is stronger than your buddies.
If you don't have a swiftwater team, know where several are and how to get them. If you only have one mutual aid swiftwater team, it will probably be busy when you need it.
Don't try to turn a swiftwater rescue into a dive rescue - firefighter divers have died doing this.
Don't try to turn a swiftwater rescue into a high-angle rescue unless the victim will never be in the water. Moving water can tip or bend aerial ladders, erode riverbanks and undercut the anchor, or move the load in two different directions simultaneously - all of which can kill the victim.
If you don't have swiftwater rescue training, don't commit suicide by going into moving water.
Don't drive vehicles into moving water. A few inches of moving water can sweep even heavy fire rigs away, tip them over, or hide giant sinkholes. Driving a fire rig into moving water can be a million-dollar mistake, even if you don't die.
Start planning your next swiftwater rescue training now, as you'll run into something that you've never seen before.