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
Based on our research of ice rescue incidents and fatalities during the years 2006 & 2007, approximately 85% of the incidents were initiated as a result of humans venturing out onto the ice to rescue a domestic animal. The purpose of this article is three-fold. First, we need to educate the public about the need to control their pets and to prevent them from going out onto the ice because no ice should ever be considered as being "safe ice". Second, we need to also educate the public to call 911, rather than to make an attempt to rescue their pets that have fallen through the ice. And, third, First Responder agencies and their personnel need to be trained and equipped to properly, effectively, and safely respond to domestic animal rescues on and through the ice.
In February 2004, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) published NFPA 1670: Standard on Operations and Training for Technical Search and Rescue Incidents. The purpose of this standard is to minimize threats to rescuers while conducting operations at technical SAR incidents, and the standard deals specifically with identifying and establishing levels of functional capability for conducting technical rescue operations safely and effectively. Although these standards were designed for all types of Technical Rescue operations, they also address water and ice rescue operations.
On July 13, 2004, a 55-year-old man collapsed in the Medina (Ohio) Aquatic and Fitness Center. The aquatic manager for the city, Darlene Donkin, responded and assessed him to be in cardiac arrest. Although Donkin was a CPR instructor and taught more than 100 classes on the subject, she had never actually performed it in a life-and-death situation prior to this incident.
The following incidents and places, as well as the circumstances surrounding them, are fictional. On the Scene Dispatch at 16:04 hrs: KGT-597 to Rescue 15, respond to Bakersville Pond off Cemetery Island for a report of a dog through the ice, approximately 100 yards from shore.
DALLAS, April 1 - Chest compressions alone, or Hands-Only Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), can save lives and can be used to help an adult who suddenly collapses, according to a new American Heart Association scientific statement.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
Smith Aquatic Safety Service (SASS) was created in 1981, upon Dr. Smith's retirement from 25 year's service in the U.S. Coast Guard, to provide aquatic safety training. At retirement Dr. Smith was Chief, 2nd Coast Guard Boating Safety Division, St. Louis, MO, responsible for all federal boating safety activities in 15 primary states.
Litigation Support - In 1981 Dr. Smith first testified as an expert. Both aspects of SASS have grown markedly, with Dr. Smith being retained in hundreds of legal cases, for plaintiff and defense while also training thousands of aquatic safety/rescue personnel. He has been qualified in numerous state and federal court cases as a boating accident reconstructionist.
SASS provides consultation and related services to law firms in aquatics cases, plus water rescue and boating safety training seminars for fire, police, lifeguarding and EMS providers throughout North America.
Professor Heraghty currently serves as Chairperson of Health, Physical Education and Sport Management at the State University of New York (SUNY) college at Suffolk. Prior to this role, he served as the Fitness & Aquatics Director and Men's Head Lacrosse Coach at SUNY Suffolk. He is a Certified Playground Safety Inspector (CPSI) credentialed by the National Recreation and Park Association and is also certified by the National Program for Playground Safety. He currently serves on the Sports Equipment, Playing Services, and Facilities committee with the American Society for Testing and Materials International (ASTM).
Litigation Support - Professor Heraghty specializes in Risk Management Programs for various types of sports, recreation and fitness activities as well as the preparation of expert opinions for both plaintiff and defendants, in conjunction with Recreation and Sport Personal Injury cases.