Reprinted with Permission

PHILADELPHIA - SkyFox was over Darby, Pa., on Friday as fire crews rescued a person trapped in a flood plane.

Much of the main part of town is under water after almost 10 inches of rain hit the area overnight.

The person was trapped in one of two houses in a neighborhood with high flood waters.

Fire crews had to extend a ladder over the flood waters and use it as a high-wire bridge to evacuate the person.

Two rescuers walked with the person over the ladder that was at least 12 feet above the waters.

The rescue was successful but aerial shots showed much of Darby was under water.

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Good Job to Darby for Rescuing these trapped people.

Things to consider as we learned post our flooding and water rescues in 2007. These incidents are long and at times putitng us to improvise. Fire gear should not be worn during these type of water rescues. Water may be stagnant or very swift at the time. PPE at a minimum should be PFD's. We went to the local dive shop and acquired every wet suit they had on the retail and rental shelf. Wet suits instead of our structural gear in case we fall in.

Rescuing people on rooftops. The use of the aerial ladder is great if it reaches. Stay focused as to how we load the ladder. This looks to be HD possibly 1000 lb tip load. At one point 4 people per fly, probably close to max loading the aerial when used correctly. My concern to point out is never rest the tip of the aerial on the structure. (at any incident) That is a non-designed load which can make your ladder fail at much lower load weights. The aerial is designed to be supported from the base in a cantilever fashion using tension and compression to support the aerial through the truss system. The last thing anyone needs is a failure with our personnel and the public involved.

We also found out that driving through all of this high water with our apparatus ruined all of the fluids in the apparatus. We started to see rear end noise months later. So I suggest you service all of your engine, transmission and rear end components immediately after the water resceeds. You will be amazed how much water gets into a sealed case.

Once again, great job pulling people to safety!
Great job on the rescue...

The one thing we all need to take away from the footage, is Situational Awareness... Not that we could "what if" every incident to death, but somewhere in your protocols is a section on appropriate PPE to worn during water events.

Be safe...
I see this a lot, in my city, I've seen grown men (a pretty young woman is understandable) carried away from vehicles in 1-2 feet of a firefighter on foot. This ladder is extended out over water that appears to be only 1-2 feet deep(judging by the door in the picture) and....not really moving. Would a lifeline and short ladder have been safer/faster/easier?
I'm glad the rescue was successful, but frankly, the firefighters were lucky.

As FETC says, PFDs and wet suits are much more appropriate than turnout gear, and the ladder was likely overloaded, particularly when operated at the shallow angle at which it was set.

You also have to watch out for water undermining the truck's outriggers in this kind of situation.

There's an old lifeguard quote that says "If a lifeguard showed up at a house fire in a wetsuit, PFD, and fins, we'd laugh him off of the fireground. So...why do firefighters wear turnout gear to a water rescue?"

Once again, I'm happy that Darby had a successful rescue, but they were lucky.
Given your experience and knowledge with swift water, etc, I take your post as pretty much gospel. I do like the quote- there's some definite food for thought there that can be applied to many situations we face.... ;-)
Preparedness at its best: Right training, righ equipment & great leadership...
Too often many try to exlain how things would be done different, but personnel obviously knew the limts of their equipment, and did not put personnel in danger of possible undercurrents or possible hidden hazzards not seen. As far as gear, this was not a in water rescue & I do not hear anyone asking what tempetures of weather were and any other decisve matters that would be brought into making the decision of the quickest, safest rescue for trapped victems.
Nice rescue fellas! Our EMS station had a couple inches of water in it after the rain. Me and my partner spent most of our shift cleaning up the mess.
I disagree. Turnout gear is not appropriate for rescues near or over the water, due to the chance of someone slipping, tripping, falling, or being pulled into the water.

Great leadership provides the correct equipment for the type of rescue being made.

Preparedness means having the right equipment for the type of rescue at hand and using it.

It's possible to fight a fire defensively wearing a wetsuit, PFD, and fins, while knowing the limits of that equipment, too.

The temperature doesn't matter if you fall into the water wearing turnout gear, the water will soak your gear and make it difficult to swim.

It is better to make this kind of rescue in a station uniform than to make it in turnout gear.

I'll repeat what I said earlier - I'm glad that the rescue turned out OK, but Darby was lucky on this one.
Chief Knuckles, I have to disagree as well. Please re-read my first post and tell me where they knew the limitations were met...

It was good to see them rescue a stranded victim, was the house going to float away? Not really sure, but I would have guessed this subject chose to stay instead of evacuate. Now unless he was starving to death, or needed medications it seems pretty clear he was in no apparaent danger other than wading in water. It is also noted he was wheelchair bound but walked the entire length of an aerial ladder with signifcant ease...

The fire service often times only critques ourselves when things go bad, and that is being reactive towards firefighter safety. In this ever changing environment, you should learn something from every single response, otherwise it may be time to hang up the bell cap.

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