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Water Rescue PPE

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Hi all,

I'm interested to hear what PPE your FRS issue for your water rescue teams/stations? In my service it is as follows;

Type B Team/Station

Personal issue dry suit, woolly bear, boots & gloves

Type C & D Team/Station

Personal issue woolly bear, water boots & gloves

Then on station there are a stock of drysuits, helmets, PFD's and throw lines complete with belts.

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The team types refer to DEFRA Flood Rescue Concept of Operations and means the teams are registered as 'National Assets.' They can also be deployed to incidents around the UK.

In short;

Type B Water & Flood Rescue Boat Team

• Technical water rescue

• Search operations within the water environment

• Powerboat rescue operations

• In-water operations

• Flood response


Type C Water & Flood Rescue Technician Team

• Technical water rescue

• Search operations within the water environment

• In-water operations

• Non-powered boat operations

• Flood response


Type D Water & Flood Rescue First Responder Team

• Support operations

• Limited in-water operations

• Bank-based safety and search

• Flood response

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All of our pumps carry lifejackets and throwlines for Bankside operations/rescue.

Our swiftwater rescue tech’s and water incident managers all get a personal issue of: Drysuit, woolly bear, boots, PFD (whistle & knife attached), helmet, gloves and a bag to store and transport.

We also have one RDS station that’s trained as water first responders (have some kit and training, but limited to wading), but I’m not sure how their PPE is distributed.

We also use a different classification system for our water rescue assets:

Mod 1- Water awareness (all crews)

Mod 2- Water first responder

Mod 3- Swiftwater/Flood rescue tech (SRT)

Mod 4- Swiftwater/Flood rescue boat operator (select ff’s at SRT stations)

Mod 5- Water incident manager (select FDO’s)

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All of our wholetime stations are trained to mod 2.
How the equipment is stored varies greatly and tbh I think we are miles behind were we should be in Kent considering the major waterways we have. But in general, every pump will have 2 x drysuit, PFD, helmet, gloves, fleece onsie as well as the usual bankside stuff like throwlines, life jackets, reach/rescue pole etc. 

However several of our wholetime stations that have a high number of water rescues have received additional training. As with most things, it's been done on the cheap and the FBU were not happy with it. But basically, we were getting too many incidents involving ops discretion where a FF had to swim to carry out a rescue which takes us past mod 2 training and into mod 3. 
So the selected stations were trained to be "mod 2 plus" which isn't a thing. But it involved a half day training on how to tethered swim. Even our instructors said we should be getting the proper mod 3 swift water but alas.....I'm sure the gentle swim we did in a virtually still body of water will be adequate for when the Medway for example is in full flow during the winter....

I do get why we have done it. I mean, most of us would want to enter to water with the correct PPE to affect a rescue even if it involved a swim rather than wade as far as we can and try to reach or not even enter the water at all. But it's just not been done properly. 

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I should add we also use the 'Mod Classification' but it seems the 'Team Type' has stuck more easily and is widely used in my FRS.

All Wrl's carry a compliment of crew savers, throw lines and hose inflation kit.

Type C/B (Mod 3/4) Wrl's/specials carry extra technical kit.

Reason I'm asking about PPE is that in my FRS only Type B/Mod 4 crews get personal issue drysuits and I'm trying to gauge what other FRS personal issue...

Thanks for the reply's so far! :) 

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Every station is “water awareness” trained (mod 1) each appliance carries lifejackets and throw lines 

select stations are flood responders where everyone is personal issued flood rescue kit compromising of:

waders, jacket, wellies

select station are level 3 which is Swiftwater technicians. They are personal issues with:

Drysuit, fleece underclothing, a “bear suit”(thicker version of fleese), water boots, helmet, head torch, gloves, throw line and PFD. 
boat operators have the same kit

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