There are at present no UK standards in relation to water rescue.
Initial training provided by Rescue 3 (Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service training provider) is based on National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards 1006 and 1670.
CFBAC formed National Water Working Group following the tragic death of GMC's Sub Officer Paul Metcalf in September 1999. National Water Working Group tasked to produce a Manual that would assist brigades in the development of safe systems of work.
Fire Service Manual, Volume 2 "Safe working near on or in water" identifies 3 levels of training/competency.
aimed at all FRS personnel who in their normal duties may be called upon to work near, on or in water, includes all operational personnel, mechanics and service photographers. (Hazard awareness)
- Initial operational response
aimed at first attendance crews;
Provides knowledge, experience and training for personnel attempting low risk, land based rescues.
- Specialist crews
specially trained crews;
Sub divided into 3 levels of competence:
- Swiftwater Rescue Technician Unit 1 (SRT 1)
- Swiftwater Rescue Technician Advanced (SRT A)
- Swiftwater Rescue boat Operator (RBO)
Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service use 4 sites for training purposes which include:
- Canolfan Tryweryn, Bala, North Wales
- Jackfields, Ironbridge
With the kind permission of Telford Canoe Club
- Mile End Mill, Llangollen
- Plas Menai, North Wales
Awareness training delivered to approximately 90% of SFRS personnel, (2 hr theory sessions). Training provided by watch based SRT Instructors utilising Retained drill sessions. Awareness training is ongoing, personnel awaiting this training include Incident Commanders at all levels, Retained personnel, and Control Room Operators.
Initial Operational Response
Initial Operational Response delivered to wholetime new recruits and transferees, (1 day course, morning theory sessions, afternoon practical training).
Syllabus includes hazard awareness, PPE, hydrology, principles of water safety and low risk land based rescue options.
Training provided by watch based SRT Instructors utilising local venues (Jackfields, Ironbridge).
PPE used to facilitate this training has until recently been provided by Rescue 3 UK. (Policy group, Sept 05 approved the purchase of PPE for this use)
Swift Rescue Technician (SRT) Unit 1
SRT Unit 1 expands on awareness and Initial Operational Response training; delivered to Wholetime personnel based at Shrewsbury Fire Station.
Since 2002 thirty one members of staff have received Unit 1 training, initial courses delivered externally by Rescue 3 International, 2004 course with nine students delivered by Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service SRT Unit 1 Instructors using local venues.
SRT Unit 1
- To develop personnel in self rescue and rescue techniques in up to class 3 swift/flood water environments
- To develop a sense of confidence in FRS personnel in dealing with swift/flood water situations
- To train the student in utilisation and adaptation of standard rescue equipment in swift and flood water situations
Swift Rescue Technician (SRT) Advanced
SRT Advanced delivered to those personnel trained to SRT Unit 1 level; SF&RS currently has 20 members of staff trained at this level, all training provided by external provider, (Rescue 3 UK).
Swift Rescue Technician (SRT) Advanced
- Expands on the expertise of SRT Unit 1 personnel into the area of extreme swift and flood water, class 3 and above conditions, night working.
- Moves beyond the emphasis of self rescue and emphasises on victim rescue
- Prepares students for team role in technical rope based rescues
- Night or low visibility exercises
- Development of search and rescue techniques and exercises
Royal Yacht Association (RYA) LEVEL 2/ SRT Rescue Boat Operator (RBO)
RYA LEVEL 2/ SRT RBO delivered to those personnel trained to SRT Unit 1 level
Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service currently has 17 members of staff trained in this discipline, all training provided by external provider (Rescue 3 UK) at Plas Menai, Caernarfon, North Wales, the National Watersports Centre.
RYA Level 2: Basic operator training applied to the use of powerboats
- Basic power boat skills
- Launch and recovery of the boat
- Basic manoeuvres, low and high speed
- Man overboard drills
- Emergency stops
SRT Swiftwater Rescue Boat Operator: EFAD training for powerboat operators
- Application of bank based rescue techniques from boats
- Throwline rescues
- Livebait rescues
- Casualty recovery techniques
- Powerboat handling in swiftwater environments
- Swiftwater features and hazards
- Ferry glides
- Eddy turns
- Tethered boat options
Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service has five personnel qualified to deliver Rescue 3 Unit 1 courses and one person qualified to deliver SRT Advanced courses.
Firefighters carry out water casualty rescue training at Plas Menai
Instructors in order to maintain their Instructor qualification must remain active and are required to deliver or co-deliver at least one registered Rescue 3 course annually to maintain their Instructor status.
- 5 SRT Unit 1 Instructors
- 1 SRT Advanced Instructor
- 4 RYA / RBO Instructors
Proposals were submitted to qualify personnel to "RYA level two" and Rescue 3 "Rescue Boat Instructor" (RBO) status and these courses took place in April and May 2006. Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service Instructors will now be able to fulfil and maintain the water safety/rescue training requirements of the brigade in-house.
Certification of all SRT (Swiftwater Rescue Technician) courses lasts for three years
Training although ad hoc is now provided for all personnel who may be called upon to work near, in or on water, however in order to maintain the safety of those most at risk and satisfy any future scrutiny from the Health and safety Executive an appropriate programme of training requirements and frequencies needs embedding into the Training and Development System.
Water Safety Awareness Campaign
Bridgnorth District Community Safety Partnership in association with Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service.
- Plas Menai
The National Watersports Centre for Wales
- Rescue 3 International
- RoSPa - Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents website