Personal Protective Equipment
Read below to find out what personal protective equipment is essential for a successful rescue.
Thermal Protection
For rescue, a high quality surface rescue suit should be worn. The ideal suit will be for "surface rescue only" and will provide buoyancy without the need of a life jacket. It is essential that each suit is a built in non-locking carabineer, which insures the rescuer is tethered to a tender who is on shore or in a safety boat. A thermal liner or "underwear" should be a component of the suit. This liner should be removable for laundering purposes. Other key features of the suit include reflective materials for night operations; built in ice awls for maneuvering on ice and a knife with a protecting sheath in the case of cutting a line is necessary. A scuba dry or wet suit, in lieu of a surface rescue suit, can be worn but keep in mind that a life jacket is essential equipment with these suits as well as a wearable harness for tethering a rescuer.
Eye Protection
Should be considered essential and is often overlooked, however performing a rescue in a blinding snow storm with sub zero wind chills can hamper visibility and make the rescuer uncomfortable. A scuba mask or a close fitting pair of goggles both work well.
Life Jackets
Chances are not everyone involved in the rescue will have a surface rescue suit on, however they can be involved in the rescue at a moments notice, any time working near water be sure to have a proper fitting, United States Cast Guard Approved life jacket on. Be sure that your life jackets are appropriate for the exact type of environment in which you will be operating.
Mental Preparedness
Every rescuer has to mentally prepare for what they may be called upon to do. There is often great risk and extreme stress that can go hand in hand with extracting someone from harms way. A good practice for being mentally prepared is to train as if it were a real rescue, visualize the rescue, keep up on latest the training techniques and finally and be honest with yourself and ask, can I do this? Am I ready?
Physical Preparedness
Engage in a physical training program that includes: weight and cardiovascular exercises. Focus should be made on cardiovascular training; this will help with the stress and physical exertion that is put upon the rescuer.