As we head into the potential of an El Nino year, our Sierra Rescue classes are filling up with Lifeguards, Fire Fighters, and many Government employees being sure they are as prepared as possible for the hazards that an El Nino year may bring with it. Our Swiftwater and Flood Rescue courses teach such skills as self rescue, hazard assessment, flood search and rescue, vehicle rescue from floods, and other useful skills to review for the rescuers involved. With the current low flows, it takes creativity to help rescuers prepare for floods and rivers that soon may not be safely accessible for the rescuers at all.
Besides Swiftwater and Flood Rescue Advanced training, Surface Water Rescue is an important component to being ready for more water in the West. Lakes, ponds, and inland waterways become inundated with water, and knowing how to safely use adjuncts, effective search techniques, and having exposure to the rescue tools available can great increase the “tool box” for the rescuer.
CPR, First Aid, and even Wilderness First Aid skills become essential for assisting once the rescue is complete. The more members of the public that are trained to recognize the hazards associated with immersion, submersion, and hypothermia, the more help there will be, and the better chance that more people will be able to prevent further complications once someone is safely on shore.
Due to the PET ACT passed by Congress after Hurricane Katrina, more technical animal rescue training has become available for rescuers. Floods and high water years can cause sink holes in some areas of the Country, and a higher exposure for horses, cattle, and other large animals to get stuck in the mud. Great tools are now available to help with relieving suction as well as getting a wide harness around an animal. Also, due to the PET Act, rescuers are much better prepared to bring along all the family pets.
Motorized boats become a great tool for accessing folks after the initial phase of flooding is over, and the speed of the water settles into a safely navigable waterway. There are many Flood Rescue Boat Operators that are updating their skills, and preparing their boats for quick deployment.