Water Extrication Pt. 2

In the last water extrication post we talked about extrication tactics for vehicles partially submerged and what type of tactics and tools you would use for extricating a trapped paitent. Now lets look at you game plan if you had a fully submerged car with people trapped, what is your game plan? what tools, equipment, and training do you have for this? Do you have a dive team? If not what are you gonna do?

There are many different answers to these questions and all of them depend on your level of experience and training. What about attempting to haul the car back to shore? When was the last time you did a good heavy rigging drill? How much will your winches hold? what type and grade chain do you have?

What about using your SCBA as a SCUBA tank? The picture below is of the Norwalk Ct. Fire Department using their SCBA’s to rescue two people from a submerged car. Both people were removed from the car, one was resuscitated the other was not. I know several other fire departments have used this method to successfully rescue people from submerged vehicles, so what do you guys think? Is this a valid rescue method? Is this something your department would do? Ever trained in this method? Let’s hear your thoughts!

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5 thoughts on “Water Extrication Pt. 2

  1. Remember the SCBA is designed to function in normal atmospheric pressure, 14.7 PSI. Any changes to this pressure can create problems. As an object is placed in water and goes down in depth the pressure increases. This pressure increase will cause the SCBA to free-flow and possibly force water around the face seal. You do what you have to do, but be aware of the risks when using any device outside of its intended purpose.

    • I was trained to “dive” an SCBA. We train to don and doff the rig (including the facepiece) under water as well. Yes the regulator free flows, however with a MSA unit I have never experienced water infiltration to depths of up to 20′. Even after removing the facepiece, once it is placed back onto the users face the postive pressure immediately clears the facepiece of any water. I would not recommend performing any such operation without training. Manufactuers do not approve using a SCBA in this manner. Additionally without being an experienced diver a would be rescurer would have great difficulty using the SCBA at depths of more than 8-10 feet. stay safe, Jamie Morelock

  2. While attending the Georgia Smoke Diver program in March of 1986 a chief from the Symrna Fire Department spoke to the class about make a 100′ dive with a SCBA. In 1992 we did our own tests with the SCBA immersion and found through our research that there is a danger of CO2 build up in the mask. We were still using some of those old steel bottles….lol, they sank like a rock. During our tests we had safety divers shadowing our every move. The GSD program does an excellent job today introducing candidates to water immersion emergencies while wearing PPE.

    Great website! Keep the info rolling.

  3. My name is cesar salcedo belong in the section of special rescue Mexican Red Cross garcia want contact with you to uqe help us with information to make a practice of extracting vehicluar partially submerged in water, no more for now I remain at your service and waiting for an answer thanks

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