FRIDAY FORUM: The Most Important Question

If the word RESCUE has anything to do with your operation, there is one question and one question only that should guide your initial size up: WHAT DOES MY CASUALTY NEED TO SURVIVE. Just as fire conditions drive tactics at a house fire, so the status of your casualty drives tactics at a rescue.  The answer will translate into time, and the time you are left with will drive how you perform the rescue.

It's not uncommon to hear the statement “Let’s slow down and do this right.”  What this usually means is “Let's do this by the book.” Unfortunately the books are often written on skill sets, not casualty survival priorities. What “Right” looks like should be determined by the casualty intervention time frame, not a set of abstract tactics, techniques, and procedures (ttp’s). 

For example, rope rescue is known for its rules.  Rules on equipment specification, redundancy, and “best practice.” But is the casualty intervention time frame the same for a worker on a roof with a broken ankle as it is for a worker on a roof having a heart attack?  No. The ankle injury might translate to a two rope system with a Artificial High Directional, while the heart attack might translate to a hasty anchor single rope system with a low point edge transition.  The “Book” says one of those is right and one is wrong. But, from the casualty perspective, they are both right. Casualty needs determine right tactics.  

Yes, the risk to rescuers is certainly a consideration. But numerous hasty, equipment minimal rescue options exist if we seek them out. If you are not competent to execute on a variety of TTP’s, then perhaps you shouldn’t be in the rescue business.  Be good at your job, so that you’re free to base your operation on the casualty, and not the narrow scope of your own performance. (Photo Credit: Reuters)

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