Drownproofing Turnout Gear


DROWNPROOFING TURNOUT GEAR

If you might end up in a flooded basement, on a tarp covered pool, or near a body of water while wearing turnout gear, then this course is a must for YOU.

Fear and ignorance are probably our two greatest enemies. When it comes to firefighters on or near the water, very often ignorance tells them if they fall in the water with their turnout gear on they are going to drown. The fear of this supposed fact may actually be a major contributor to the actual drowning process.

Now we’re in the 21st Century, but quite often still very backward.

We wish we could cite only one water response where a firefighter drowned because he wasn’t wearing the appropriate protective equipment. In a small town in New Jersey, a young firefighter saving the lives of flood victims accidentally fell out of the rescue vessel. He drowned almost instantly with full turnout gear strapped to his body. He wasn’t the first and wont be the last.

Water-related rescues lend themselves to a far different equipment-ready capability. The firefighter should be wearing, at minimum, a Personal Flotation Device (personal lifejacket), and depending on the weather and environment (cold/ice), he or she may need to be encapsulated in an environmentally protective suit. Firefighters should not be donned in firefighter turnout equipment when responding to a water-related rescue.

But, what happens to the firefighter who responds to a fire near water and must wear turnout gear? This might be a pier fire, a fire in a building close to or on the water, or simply the danger of backing out of a first floor level into a backyard pool.

Let’s start out with facts. Turnout equipment does not necessarily cause you to immediately drown, and in fact, if used correctly, may allow you to remain at the surface for a prolonged period of time.

In the beginning we said that ignorance and fear could be our two greatest enemies. Firefighters haven’t been taught how to use turnout gear in the water, including what equipment to keep and what to throw away. Firefighters have been told and believe that if they fall into the water with all this equipment, they stand a strong chance of drowning. They have given up before they started and will therefore drown.

In the past ten years, the staff of Lifeguard Systems has trained hundreds of firefighters around the country to drownproof turnout gear in situations of accidental submersion in water. The Drownproofing Turnout Gear program was taken from these experiences, ranging from New York City Fire Department Rescue to small town volunteer fire departments. If you know how to use it, turnout gear can keep you afloat. If you aren’t trained, it can drown you in seconds.

The program teaches you to:

* Bob and relax in the water to lessen the chance of drowning after accidental submersion.
* Use your turnout gear to help you stay afloat for extended periods of time instead of allowing it to drown you.
* Remove and ditch turnout gear in the water.
* Determine what parts of your gear will help you and what parts should be ditched immediately (e.g. Do you know if your helmet or SCBA floats or sinks?).
* Aid and talk a firefighter in the water into survival and out of submission.
* Flip an inflatable boat upside down then back upright, while maintaining the security of an unconscious victim–all in under 15 seconds.
* Use fins and personal flotation devices, and learn why they are so important.
* Handle an unconscious victim on the water’s surface.

The program can include a maximum of forty participants in a full-sized pool, with an unlimited number of onlookers. The fee for the program is $750, plus staff travel expenses if the program is located far from our headquarters.

If your team schedules one of our Ice or Rapid Deployment programs, this Drownproofing Turnout Gear program can be included with that program for an additional fee of only $500.

Every student receives a wall certificate upon successful course completion. Certification, photo ID card is available for $25 per students.

After completing the Drownproofing Turnout Gear program, your team can use the exercises learned in the program as a drill, to boost morale and hone skills.