Technical Rescue

Swiftwater Rescue: Are We Ready?

Issue 09 and Volume 173.

By Greg Merrell As a swiftwater instructor, I am often asked, “How do we organize a swiftwater rescue team?” This loaded question has no simple answer; it requires much more than a simple checklist. As with any technical rescue discipline, swiftwater rescue preparedness must start with the three legs of the rescue tripod: people, equipment, and training. Each leg challenges our readiness and response capabilities. Budget limitations make it hard to find enough of the right people and to train and equip them properly as competent water rescue specialists. Often, rescue equipment is such a low priority because of its cost relative to the limited incidence of technical rescues. Finally, training is the third leg needed for stability and support for a successful rescue program. In many departments, training is not a problem and is encouraged and well-funded. However, in others, training is a nice word to throw around until…

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