RAPID DEPLOYMENT ICE DIVING RESCUE/RECOVERY (with Rapid Deployment Skills Day for those who haven’t taken the pre-requisite class- Hosted by Plymouth Fire Department – February 4-7, 2019.

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Prerequisites: Lifeguard Systems Rapid Deployment Search & Rescue/Recovery or add ½ day (5 hours) to the ice diving program .

The key to safe and effective Ice Diving is the fact that if an ice call comes in, that means the ice is probably not safe or you would not have been called. The vast majority of dive teams with ice certification trained on good ice.  They cut holes, walked out to the holes, dove with tenders standing, and at the end, walked back to shore.  This is not realistic and will not prepare the team to respond to an actual call safely or effectively.  If a child, or even an adult, fell through, then a dive team is not going to be able to reach the hole by walking, or even crawling.

The key to LGS ice training is a set of procedures based on very thin ice.  Visualize the following:

A child fell through 150 feet from shore. The team arrives and dresses in less than 3 minutes while operational level personnel rig up the ice board.  The primary tender dons an immersion suit, fins, a mask, and a harness with an attached pulley.  The tender is connected to shore with a line through the pulley that is attached to the ice board which is tethered to shore.  The tender lays on the board and uses ice awls to approach the victim’s hole.  The ice breaks 100 feet from shore.  The tender enters the hole, faces shore and becomes a human ice screw.  Shore personnel pull the ice board back to shore for the backup tender to lie on.  Shore pulls the backup tender to the primary tender.  Shore pulls the backup diver and then the primary diver to the hole.  The 90% ready diver remains on the board back at shore, ready to deploy if needed.  The primary tender spiders the primary diver under the ice to the victim’s hole and the search begins.  The primary diver brings the victim back to the hole where the ice board is then waiting.  This operation, from the time on scene to the time the victim is back to shore should take less than 15 minutes – if the team has the right training.

Public safety dive teams need far more training than is what is offered by a typical ice diving course. Dive teams need to be capable of many skills including:

  • setting up and running shore based, platform and ice based operations
  • cutting 6’ x 6’ x 6’ triangular holes and understanding why
  • performing under-ice deployment to victim’s hole procedures
  • blackwater, overhead environment searching
  • profiling and tending with DAD – designated area diving
  • explaining why 100 ft of line is the maximum a back-up diver, and 75’ a primary diver, should be let out under the ice
  • how to properly tether an ice diver with proper carabiners, knots, and duct tape protection
  • rapid diver-tender dressing in under 3 minutes
  • documentation and logging of all information
  • writing a safe and effective SOP that protects team members and the department
  • how to trim divers with gear placement and tape to decrease the chance of entanglement
  • blackwater, overhead out-of air emergency and disconnect-lost-diver emergency contingency plans
  • blackwater, overhead entanglement contingency plans
  • victim extrication from water and hole
  • procedures for decreasing equipment freeze-up problems
  • how to properly use ice anchors, pitons and equipment transport pulley systems
  • back-up and 90% ready diver procedures
  • preventing, recognizing and managing cold stress, hypothermia, immersion hypothermia, drowning, near drowning, long term drowning, etc.
  • finding small items such as carabiners, quarters, shell cartridges, etc.
  • how to package and transport patients from the hole to the ambulance
  • incident command
  • operations greater than 200 feet from shore
  • explaining the complications of underwater vehicle extrication (hands-on skills covered in level II or 5 day RDS&R/R course and much, much more!

As in all of our professional rescue programs, the RDIDR program involves fire, police, EMS and emergency department personnel to create the greatest possible chance for a successful, safe rescue from the first responder to the emergency room.

If the course is for Law Enforcement Personnel, evidence recovery and homicide by drowning will be stressed.

Each diver must make a minimum of three full dives (min. 15 minutes) in addition to two underwater contingency exercises.

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