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Recommended organization to train paddlers and fire fighters
mtnmanD

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December 2, 2011 - 6:45 pm
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I am interested in hearing what folks have to say about a recommended trainer for a training that would involve Fish and Game (who are the Incident Command on scene), local fire fighters who have gear and enthusiasm but are short on whitewater experience, mountain rescue professionals who are competent with rope and haul systems and excel at vertical rescue/recovery but are not as familiar or comfortable near or over water, and a group of local paddlers. As paddlers – it seems like we favor ACA Swiftwater Rescue, but there is Rescue 3 that works with fire fighters and several others. This training would create common language and familiarity with systems and each other, and look to mitigate some of the ego, agency, and operational barriers to a successful working relationship.

Thoughts are welcome.

If you would prefer an off site dialog – mtnman46@hotmail.com

Thanks, Darron

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Lincoln_R

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December 4, 2011 - 1:30 pm
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I would think that the key is that voulenteers and private individuals probably like the "Challenge by Coice" aspect of ACA, while a Fire Dep’t would prefer the I am certified and thus I have skills A, B & C.

lsr

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scagrotto

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December 5, 2011 - 5:10 pm
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It looks to me like Rescue 3’s "swiftwater technician 1" course might be better for those who aren’t already fairly familiar with the whitewater environment, as they spend a day in the classroom covering that. It also looks like this course is required for anyone who wants to meet NFPA requirements. The downside is that theory isn’t as good as actual experience with the moving water. The next 2 days of the class is probably comparable to the ACA courses. The $425 cost of the 3 day course is substantially more than your typical ACA course.

For those who already have experience with the whitewater environment the ACA course is probably the best bet, but it’s probably not a good course for those who aren’t familiar with the environment. One of the worst things that can happen in such courses is to waste a bunch of time on people who don’t know the basics that everyone else in the class already knows.

Depending on who’s paying the bills and the budget, everybody taking the same rescue 3 course might be the best overall choice. The first day may be repetitive for some, but it never hurts to review the basics. If everybody isn’t going to take the course together maybe the best bet is to take different courses and then get everyone on the same page by training together at local practice sessions. You’re going to want to do that anyway, regardless of the course(es) you take.

Rob Larkham

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December 6, 2011 - 7:11 am
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As a member of a volunteer fire department and a swift water rescue team I personally would rather have a bunch of WW boaters try to save me. Please don’t take this the wrong way. I’m a member of the team and know we just don’t get enough practice. I know members of the team who just don’t know enough about moving water and would become part of the problem. All the courses in the worl would not help them if they don’t spend some time learning how WW flows. As boaters we learn that quickly.

Most times I’m pushed to the front of the line because I’m used to moving water. Any course is going to benefit the group but nothing can subtitute practice and we just don’t seem to get enough of that. Our swift water team is made up from 4 different towns. It is tough to get them all organized to train. I’d love to hear more options from people out there and find out what works in other areas. We have done some training but time on the water would be great for our team.

whitewater girl

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December 6, 2011 - 8:11 am
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NCSP has practice/peer training scheduled monthly (May-August) on a "come as you can" basis…not perfect, but it helps…

…the organization requires 4 days per season patroling on the Delaware (the point of the organization), which gives people hand’s-on experience doing (mostly basic) rescues in a moving water environment. (Each patroler decides when they can patrol)

Any local "carnage" spots (or maybe just P&P spots) where you could regularly schedule small groups of responders to hang out & get some real-water experience? (online sign-up sheet, that sort of thing?) – this can get people practice working with other than their "regular" crew as well…

mtnmanD

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December 6, 2011 - 9:23 pm
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Rob – how do you folks end up fitting into the Incident Command hierarchy? Will they use paddlers or are you kind of "it"?

Rob Larkham

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December 7, 2011 - 7:04 am
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We sort of are incident command (to an extent). If it is an active water rescue then we have the tools, gear and more knowledge then most to handle the situation. That said when a rescue becomes a recovery the state police step in with divers and we end up aiding them. Our team is made up of 4 towns. The chief in one of the towns who satrted the team is well respected and most times is kept in place as incident command. Understand, most of our accidents are on clas 2/3 waters and so far never been for WW boaters. The things we have dealt with have been fisherman, swimmers and such. Also understand, once a death occurs different sets of rules take place and the State Police take over. Having good relations so they will include you when needed is nice. A couple years back our team aided in a recovery as we had the boats and man power needed.

If I’m on seen and know the paddlers the Chief may let me involve them. If he doesn’t know you it would probably not happen. For this reason, meeting and building those relationships can be huge.

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December 7, 2011 - 5:05 pm
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Flash and I once helped the Tamworth fire dept relocate a rescue boat after a failed rescue attempt from the day b4.

from the sound of it, it seemed both parties that day could have used a little more swift water training.

scary since the bearcamp always has people on it

Rob Larkham

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December 8, 2011 - 7:19 am
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Funding!

rebel1916

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December 10, 2011 - 10:21 am
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Not for nothing, paddlers who are trained in swiftwater rescue should probably take the NIMS/ICS100 & 700 classes which are available via the web from FEMA. This will familiarize you with the lingo if nothing else, and if you sound like you are part of the system you are more likely to be treated as such. Ask to speak to the "incident commander" identify yourself as the "group supervisor" etc.

mtnmanD

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January 25, 2012 - 9:52 am
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Good point rebel1916 – I actually just did that and some others on the FEMA site to top off some recert hours for the national registry. Paddlers who have a sense of the perspective and contraints that the state agencies and first responders are working within – and the ability to speak a similar language should help with the relationship building aspect. Thanks all for the feedback. D

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