Maximise rescuer safety and effectiveness through pre-rescue communication

TitleMaximise rescuer safety and effectiveness through pre-rescue communication
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsDonohoe, B
Conference NameWorld Conference on Drowning Prevention
Date Published09/2007
PublisherInternational Life Saving Federation
Conference LocationPorto, Portugal
Other NumbersPO-18

The context: In a rescue situation, a rescuer can improve the quality of information available by adopting a well-structured and logical approach when questioning whatever bystanders are present. By adopting this approach the rescuer could reduce their own exposure to risk to a minimum thus making the rescue as safe as possible. The reasoning behind each question and the order asked is of relevance. The phrasing of questions, in such a stressful situation, will also influence the ease with which the resulting information is assimilated and appropriate conclusions drawn. In turn this will influence the organisation of a more structured and safer rescue. This paper focuses on the lifesaver, a trained individual, who happens upon an emergency aquatic incident.

The discussion: Because of the random nature of their exposure to an incident, a lifesaver can only make general preparations for such events. This investigation focuses on the individual rescuer in the aquatic environment. Rescuers put their lives at risk when they are involved in a rescue situation. Compared to other rescuers the lone lifesaver is exposed to most danger as they have to act alone or with the assistance of others who happen upon the incident.

The methods: An investigation into the areas of risk reduction, communication under stress, and the requirements of the rescuer is necessary. Initially these are investigated in an academic environment then the findings need to be applied to the rescue environment.

The result: Any investigation, which results in a clear sequence or template to follow to gain information, introduces a greater degree of certainty and frees the rescuer’s mind to deal with the other elements of the rescue. This helps reduce the risk to which they are exposed.

The information gained can be applied:

  1. To the individual rescuer which provides a safer rescue situation.
  2. Where low levels of training are available in developing countries or where the rescuer is not likely to have been trained.
  3. The information can form part of existing training programmes.
  4. This question may have an application to other rescue environments and may also be of relevance to members of emergency services who have to deal with the public in emergencies.
Learning Outcomes
  1. This provides an approach to knowledge collection, which helps improve rescuer safety.
  2. Provides a methodology on which rescuers depend.
  3. Provides a rescuer with a means of stress reduction to improve the rescue outcome.
  4. It provides a basis for evaluating competitors’ performance within SERC type competitions.