Mostly, Swift rescue drills are done by the BOISE fire department in the BOISE River under the fast running, cold and high snow melting lake spring; and an unprotected individual can be succumbed to hypothermia and could lose consciousness in the deep water. Swift water rescue or also called as the white water rescue, it is a division of technical rescue dealing with white water river conditions. Swift water rescue use special trained personnel, ropes and advanced mechanical systems that are much stronger than those of the standard rope rescue.
As the Spokane water rescue evolved, the Incident Command System (ICS) emerged. This system is a protocol used in United States to manage emergencies. The ICS has become the core by which all disasters are controlled. It is based upon an accessible response and flexible organization that provides common framework wherein different people can work together, and it is designed and responsible in giving operations, procedures and standard response to minimize the problem and miscommunication on such incidents.
Spokane Swift water rescue has immediate area of operations which are divided in three parts and certain training is required for personnel operating within the three zones:
- Cold zone – anything greater than 15 feet from the edge of the water. Awareness Level personnel are restricted to go near in the cold zone.
- Warm zone – it begins in 15 feet from the edge of the water and it ends at the water edge as well. Warm zone operating personnel should be trained under the Operation Level and should wear a properly secured and fitted personal flotation device.
- Hot zone – it refers to all activities that are happening in the water. A Technician Level is required to do the activity provided that they wear the properly fitted and secured flotation device or PFD.
There are measures and methods that are being implemented by various rescues in swift water rescue. Implementation of algorithm helps prevent rescuers from endangering the victim and himself, the following are the details or steps involved:
- Talk – directing the victim to perform self-rescue such as swimming.
- Reach – if talk is unsuccessful, attempt to reach with an object is done.
- Wade – walk in water when partially immersed.
- Throw – throw something to the victim such as throw bags.
- Go and tow – the rescuer enters the water in a swimming capacity; this is where the victim is unconscious.
All Swift water rescues must pass the standards of the technical rescuer professional to qualify as a swift water rescuer.