The deliberation to not act and go against standards of care, or the best practice is a serious violation of trust. Both personal, and public.
What motivates people to accept cutting corners, excuses, lack of leadership, budget and fatigue of not driving a program to successful completion?
Routines can be familiar but when one operator in a crew decides to deviate from the practices that were put in place, they open the liability door. Somebody pays the price. Others hide and live with grief and regret.
Sometimes personal character of an individual supersedes the motivation to serve the public instead of serving oneself. Manipulating a system for ulterior reasons, that are personal and not for the oath of service.
When was the last time a mishap was reviewed in your department or group?
How was the process engaged?
Did you permit an outside subject matter expert to evaluate the data?
Was the information distributed to enact change and address the identifiable issues?
When a mishap occurs the obvious is determined. What did the operator, crew, mechanic or instructor miss?
Reputation can be evaluated on social media in a viral scope from all corners of the world and reference posters who may never have operated a Rescue Water Craft. Those posts will last a career span. Oftentimes they point out things that operators obviously missed, and its repeated hundreds of times, or memes and gifs go viral.
Many of the mishaps I review through social media had definite steps of setting up the accident that were clearly avoidable. But if the team instructor is not trained properly, and the student follows the same advice from the instructor, and there is no determination to challenge the training methods, it’s inevitable. Is this what people line up for?
Accidents, how often do we say ‘preventable’? It’s comedic, like ‘don’t do drugs’, or ‘don’t drive drunk’, or ‘turn around don’t drown’, phrases that have effect but are not practiced to stop the flow of risk. What does risk management mean? Safety is not a word, it is a way of being.
Many agencies should not have RWC programs. They are not ready. They have not conducted proper homework and they do not have the appropriate budget. But mainly they do not respect the craft or the usage.
Oftentimes those who created mishaps are rewarded with medals of heroism. This protects the mishaps from gifting the reward of progress and reducing risk for the next mission. In fact it enables the next disaster to go into effect.
Rescue Water Craft Training for Night Qualification
THESE QUESTIONS HAVE TO BE ASKED
Personalities are selected through a vetting process to match up to a specific job description, attitude and capability. They are put through paces, educated, corrected and evaluated to see if they have what it takes to qualify. Or not.
There are definite draws to the various water rescue disciplines from a variety of agency personnel from military to lifesaving. Certain personality types are easier to lead into excellence, while others may be less mature, or disciplined. Most of that is from peer influence and personal influences of upbringing, values, culture and spiritual commitments.
Some rescue minded persons are motivated to excel for personal gain, team effort, community support, private psychological drive and stacking up a value to the worth behind effort and the altruistic or personal rewards.
Experience and perspective come into play with the hours in the field, research and study, practice and industriousness. A conscientious person will pay attention to fulfillment of the mission full circle. Industrious people work very hard and can be irritated with the unproductive team members.
Sharing the labor load of the rescue scene is a conscientious person is going to work really hard, put in very long hours and be the last to leave. Persons who are orderly like to have everything in order and are always cleaning up behind everyone else, usually women tend to fill that role.
Sometimes they are over concerned about details and they may be disappointed in the personalities who are productive because they may be making more of a mess. Know how to orchestrate agreeable persons and disagreeable persons to try to balance out the complexities of teamwork.
Personal traits are a big source of conflict in teams. This can relate to mission work in tension, conflict and friction.
Knowing the various personalities it is imperative to place tested persons who thrived in the specific roles needed. For instance: It is important for an RWC Operator to be comfortable in the water they work in. If they are not comfortable, it may be time to replace this operator and bring them to shore support.
How do you identify a mishap or rate accidents? Moderate to significant or got lucky?
Oftentimes after reviewing serious mishaps that I know were preventable, I have to say, how could this department not recognize the potential for harm?
It usually comes down to a lack of boating knowledge. They may have knowledge that is excellent in other stages of rescue, but when it comes to operating or implementing a power water craft program, they have assessed a casual program when in fact this is a high risk marine operation.
Who are your Subject Matter Experts? How were they tested and selected? What world experience do they have that is recent within the past 30 days and 30 years?
Oftentimes when I review a program, the organization was not prepared to have a marine unit. They lacked knowledge of the craft, maintenance schedules and budget. But mainly they lacked follow through after training to ensure their program was sustainable.
Acquiring a certificate will not protect you. The entire program needs to be reviewed annually. All mishaps must be reviewed and adjusted. Outside sources should be sought for additional knowledge based on modernizing any loopholes. Personal Protective Equipment has to be effective and replaced as needed along with RWC accessory devices.
Boating rules and regulations are constantly broken by public safety agencies using Rescue Water Craft. Lifejackets are not worn, rules of the road and not utilized, boating basics are not incorporated properly. Most of this is because training programs are outdated and incomplete.
Who is the program instructor and who backs their certification. Did your department determine if their certification was current and verifiable? Who wrote their training program, what type of craft and program management needs were resourced? How was this data entered and how is the program monitored and by whom?
How are the operators evaluated and why is their certification not revoked from a mishap and they get rolled back to training? How is the discipline process protected for teams, and who is the person monitoring and enforcing the program?
Rescue Board Training and Inspection
The community is fragmented by not conducted effective research. Instructors are self-proclaimed, self appointed or appointed by the agency and not evaluated annually. Instructors need to be assessed annually. Where does a RWC operator go for new content? Are they stepping outside their domain and going to where the value structure is: private enterprise.
People like to belong to something. They will affiliate with personalities that correspond with their own. Sometimes this is negative instead of creative. Creatures of comfort may protect hubris and not allow the science of physics to advance our culture.
Are you willing to let one of your team mates die and possibly yourself? Forget about the survivor, lets talk about the team. You cannot afford to be rescued during a rescue. How valuable is your career and reputation to you and your family? If you start with these simple values and expand them, it will be much easier to tune a program.
The Rescue Water Craft Association (RWCA) is the sole governing body for the RWC community. There is no other sole source that offers advances in the generation of knowledge. Others are taking micro steps. The best predictor for structure and rules applied comes from not only pioneers but those connected to the industry and a variety of water way needs, agency perspectives and direction.
The RWCA is our community peer group, it scales iinternationally. What we do is dangerous. It’s extremely dangerous. Think about it and let that sink in. Once you surrender to the risk involved it will be easier to being the process of engaging this risk to mitigate the flaws that exist and to clearly determine where they are and what can happen.
Because You Care.
Join today: RESCUE WATER CRAFT ASSOCIATION