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Developed and maintained
by the NFCC

Control measure
Personal protective equipment: Water rescue

TRAINING SPECIFICATION

Knowledge and understanding

Control measure element Learning outcome

Suitability of PPE

Understand:

  • The need to use specifically designed PPE when working near, on or in water
  • Consider the water environment when determining what PPE is required

Buoyance aids: Personal flotation devices (PFD)

Understand:

  • The need to personal flotation devices to be appropriate to:
    • The wearer’s height, weight and size
    • The activities expected to be performed
  • That the personal flotation device:
    • May need a releasable tether
    • Must be compatible with other PPE in use
  • That personal flotation devices:
    • Are not compatible for use with fire kit – once saturated, its additional weight will negate any buoyancy afforded
    • Should have a quick release securing system
    • Will not assist in maintaining a clear airway

Buoyancy aids: Life jackets

Understand:

  • That life jackets:
    • Offer a greater level of buoyancy
    • Can hold the wearer face-up when immersed, regardless of their level of consciousness
    • Should provide enough buoyancy to compensate for a saturated fire kit

Thermal injury

Understand:

  • The need to consider the potential for heat illness or hypothermia
  • The need to select PPE and thermal layers based on the expected activities and environmental conditions

Helmets

Understand:

  • Why firefighting helmets may result in injury to the wearer if they accidentally enter the water
  • That any helmets worn should:
    • Be suitable for use near water
    • Reflect the hazards present

Footwear

Understand:

  • That footwear should:
    • Be well-fitting
    • Provide toe and sole protection
    • Be suitable for use on slippery surfaces

Drysuits and thermal protection suits

Understand:

  • That drysuits and thermal protection suits should:
    • Correctly fit the wearer
    • Provide adequate seals against the skin
    • Not have orifice seals so tight that they restrict blood flow

Snag hazards

Understand:

  • That snag hazards should be removed from PPE used in moving water
  • That personnel should have equipment to enable their release if they become snagged or tangled in water

Working at night or in reduced visibility

Understand:

  • The need to illuminate personnel working near, on or in water at night or in reduced visibility
  • The equipment that can be used to identify personnel if they accidentally enter the water
  • The accepted form for colour-coded lighting

Decontamination

Understand:

  • The need to thoroughly decontaminate equipment, vehicles and PPE
  • How to decontaminate drysuits

Practical application

Control measure element Learning outcome

Ensure all personnel wear appropriate PPE according to service risk assessment and procedures for water rescue

Demonstrate the ability to:

  • Identify the appropriate PPE for personnel working near, on or in water, based on the task and environment
  • Ensure personnel appropriately use any specifically designed PPE
  • Ensure personnel understand the limitations of any PPE in use
  • Consider changing the standards of PPE in use, based on the risks and hazards present

Monitor personnel for heat illness or hypothermia when performing water rescues

Demonstrate the ability to:

  • Monitor personnel for heat illness
  • Monitor personnel for hypothermia

Ensure that adequate decontamination of equipment, vehicles and PPE is carried out if used for a water rescue

Demonstrate the ability to:

  • Ensure equipment, vehicles and PPE are thoroughly decontaminated

Consider the use of illumination devices, including coloured lights, to identify personnel and equipment in water

Demonstrate the ability to:

  • Identify and use appropriate equipment to identify or illuminate personnel working near, on or in water at night or in reduced visibility