Rescue vs. Recovery Operations
At the scene of a water rescue emergency, time is critical. Many people do not realize that individuals have been revived successfully after being under the water for over one hour.
- Influencing operational factors include:
- Individual and team safety (number one factor)
- Personnel and equipment available
- Victim’s condition
- Length of time submersed
- Complexity of the rescue
- Keeping track of the time from when the victim was last seen on the surface will help determine if the team is in a rescue or recovery mode.
- Most teams use the “golden hour” as a benchmark to function in rescue mode from the time of submersion.
- The team will switch to recovery mode when specific criteria have been met.
- Rescuers have needlessly lost their lives due to rescue operations being pushed by family and media.
- Use judgment and experience, not compassion, for decision-making. Compassion kills!
- Designate a person to work directly with the family and answer their questions.