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.
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.
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).