Gerald M. Dworkin
is a professional Aquatics Safety & Water Rescue Consultant
for Lifesaving Resources Inc. He has an extensive background in Aquatics Safety, Lifeguard Training and Operations, Water Rescue & Swiftwater Rescue, Ice Rescue & Cold Water Survival, Emergency Medical Services, and Public Safety and Rescue. Along with several textbooks, he has written and published over 40 articles, and has consulted in numerous drowning and aquatic injury litigation cases as both a Plaintiff and Defense Expert Witness.
Expert Witness Services
As an expert witness, Mr. Dworkin evaluates the Standard of Care as it pertains to Incident Prevention, Victim Recognition, and Emergency Management and provides accident reconstruction, depositions, written reports, and courtroom testimony.
His Areas of Expertise Include
- Lifesaving, Lifeguarding and Aquatics Safety
- Water Rescue, Swiftwater Rescue, and Ice Rescue
- CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation)
- Basic Life Support
- Drowning and Aquatic Injury Prevention and Emergency Management
- Lifeguard Training and Operations
TWO BOYS, age 11, are ice skating at a local pond. Suddenly, the ice cracks and one boy falls through into 34 degree Fahrenheit water. His friend runs to his aid, and potential tragedy grows as the second boy is pulled into the ice cold water by the panic stricken child already in the water. Unless help is immediately available, both boys will perish within a few minutes, either from drowning or hypothermia (decreased body temperature).
Based on a 1961 study at Williamston, MI, conducted by the Michigan State Police, the Indiana University Health and Safety Department, the Michigan Highway Department, and the American Red Cross, it was estimated that approximately 400 persons lose their lives as a result of being trapped in automobiles that have plunged into the water.
Although showing a slight downward trend, U.S. pool-related drownings have see-sawed for the past several years - despite reinforcement of safety messages in the media.
Properly recognizing and managing suspected spinal injuries caused by head-first entries into the water require high levels of training. Lifeguards and other water rescue personnel must be able to evaluate the signs and symptoms associated with spinal trauma and the manner in which an injury occurs. The rescuer should assume that a spinal injury exists if the forces causing the trauma were sufficient to damage the spine.
In the event a firefighter is suddenly and unexpectedly immersed in deep water while wearing full turnout gear, the firefighter's survival is dependent upon the actions taken during the first critical seconds of the immersion. The incidence of this type of emergency increases when firefighters are fighting apartment fires around a swimming pool, during suppression activities on and around piers and docks, as well as during a fall-through incident in which the firefighter falls through a floor into a basement filled with water.
The purpose of this article is to describe the proper use and application of the Stearns Cold Water/ Ice Rescue Suit by Fire, Rescue, and other Public Safety Personnel during cold water and ice rescue incidents. This article has been specifically written to address the prevention of Torso Reflex or Inhalation Response during the rescuer's entry into cold water.
Nearly half of all flood related deaths occur in vehicles. Most of these deaths take place when people drive into flooded highway dips or low drainage areas.
In 1996, a tragic accident occurred on a soccer field at Northeast Park in the Park Ridge Recreation and Park District in Illinois. After a short rain delay in the game, the skies started clearing and a referee decided to resume play.
Since 1980, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has documented over 18 incidents, including five deaths, involving children between the ages of two and 14 who were injured or died due to body part entrapment involving the drain of a swimming pool, wading pool or spa.
As a result of renewed electronic and print media exposure, the Heimlich Controversy has once more reared its head creating a confusing message for lifeguard and other rescue personnel regarding the resuscitation procedures to be used when confronted with a near-drowning resuscitation incident.
A Statement for Healthcare Professionals From the American Heart Association Task Force on Automatic External Defibrillation
All public and semi-public aquatic facilities should be equipped with appropriate spinal immobilization devices (SIDs), in addition to cervical collars, lateral stabilization items (i.e. blankets, towels, sand bags, and so forth), and appropriate immobilization material (i.e. straps and bandages).
Because of the major health concerns today, there is a major reluctance among emergency service personnel to perform direct mouth-to-mouth rescue breathing on an unknown victim.
For the past three issues, jems has presented a thorough review of spinal immobilization devices that are used in traditional rescue situations.
Each year approximately one million people in the United States suffer from acute myocardial infarction (heart attack) of which approximately 700,000 die. About 350,000 of these fatalities occur outside the hospital, usually within two hours after the onset of symptoms of a heart disorder.
During an emergency is not when you want to discover that your equipment is incompatible with your EMS service. Avoiding that fate can save a lot, including a life.
Torso Reflex, also known as Gasp Reflex , Inhalation Response, or Cold Water Shock, is caused by sudden immersion into water colder than 70 degrees F. Sudden immersion into cold water triggers an involuntary reflexive torso gasp that can cause the person to aspirate water into his/her airway and lungs, which can lead to laryngospasm, disorientation, panic, and the loss of any physical ability to swim or remain afloat.
I’ve always advocated the need for aquatics facilities to collaborate and coordinate lifeguard and water rescue training and emergency operations with community fire, rescue, emergency medical services (EMS) and law enforcement agencies.
For aquatics facilities to effectively integrate rescue and safety services with those of the local fire and rescue agencies and emergency medical services (EMS), it's imperative that all agencies establish collaborative agreements and cooperative training programs.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) establishes standards for the Fire and Rescue industry.
In February 2004, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) published NFPA 1670: Standard on Operations and Training for Technical Search and Rescue (SAR) Incidents. The purpose of this standard was to minimize threats to rescuers while conducting operations at technical SAR incidents.
Each year, there are approximately 1,500 incidents and 600 deaths occur involving vehicles that have gone off the road and plummeted into the water. Therefore, the public needs to plan for these types of emergencies by (A) rehearsing the steps necessary for a successful self-rescue from a vehicle in the water, and (B) having the rescue/escape tools readily available for use during this type of emergency situation.