Thursday, May 27, 2010

Swiftwater Rescue with Ohiopyle Trading Post and River Tours

Ohiopyle Trading Post and River Tours takes pride in having a well trained staff. Not only in understanding the river and it's many details at different levels, but to be well rounded in First Aid, CPR, and Swift Water Rescue Techniques.
Every spring our staff hold these programs for new trainees taught by Staff Instructors, as well as refreshing our seasoned staff to knock off the rust. Upholding these standards in the white water community is paramount, so we know what to do when our guests don't.

Here are some examples of this years training and refresher courses.

Class is in Session: Jeremy was head instructor this year getting his swift water rescue instructor certification in Spring of 2008. Class is in session on the river, where else. It's really informative and a lot of fun.

Ropes are always a big part of river rescue and here is an example of line assist techniques to aid in getting a rescuer out to the scene.

Proper belay techniques are crucial in setting up a quick anchor for the line. Majority of times, tremendous forces are applied to the ropes and one person holding them is just not enough. Here you can see a three person belay where the rope is anchored with assistance.

Watch the Line Assisted Crossing in action.

Sometimes the water is to deep to get a secure footing or carefully wade across. The next technique we teach is a modified zip line that creates an angle which allows the rescuer to clip into the line and body ferry with help from the current to the destination. This is really a lot of fun but useful in deep water situations.

Here a person can use their flip line and clip it on to the work line of the system and slide down in a zip. This is really quick and fun as well. The key to this is having an angle set up across the river so the current will push you to the right direction.

Sometimes just slowing down the whole rescue and moving with purpose is the fastest way.

Rescue PFD's
are used for clipping in lines and swimming after people that need assistance. We use this jacket with a tether like device that can allow the swimmer to be attached to the line or quickly get free with a built in release mechanism designed into the vest. These work really well when you need both of your hands to grab something and let your buddies pull you back home to safety.

Here are some of our new trainees that were tuning into a superhero guides. Doesn't this just look like so much fun? "It was". You hold an extra bit of rope in your downstream hand and then toss it like you are tossing the parachute cord then it's immersion and rescue.

Once you have the package you don't want to let go. Sometimes people just want to breath and they try to use you as a platform so be prepared by being behind them.

Once you have two people on the end of a line in a rapid, things can get forceful quick so you have to anticipate and factor in your surroundings. Your head is the most important element in a rescue and teamwork is the fuel that fires up a quick rescue.

Off Water Skills are important to practice. This can take the river element out and let our trainees learn the details your systems work on the river when you need them.

Haul systems are a bit lengthy and confusing so it's best to practice them off the river. When things are really stuck this is a possibility, the Z drag. Knowing ropes, webbing, carabiners, pulleys and knots is really important for climbers and river guides.

Stabalization lines and tag lines add to the River Guide's tool box.

techniques are the quickest and sometimes most effective. Using a paddle can help stability and you can feel the bottom of the river with it. This helps tell you the depth.

If you have just plain manpower this is how you can use it to wade.

Sometimes it just doesn't work but you always have to have a plan B as a River Guide. Swift Water Rescue is a key component to becoming a river guide. We enjoy our work and it comes through in our performance. Our staff consists of some talented individuals and we want to keep it that way.