Life is Risk Be Ready
Public Safety Agencies that restrict outside professional influencers from the field by those who are doing the work, getting into or on the water and taking the risks to learn the risks at risk level, are holding their program safety hostage.
Many training programs restrict their personnel from being in the proper conditions of water flow for proficiency or from learning from industry influencers. Pride, ego, fear and program doldrums protect this hubris. Does this sound like your department?
When the water is running high, when its flowing, when its cold, when its night or when the surf is up! The times most call-outs occur are during these types of weather and water episodes.
Why would a department not want their personnel fully ready to go? I have witnessed personnel bring up their concerns with their administration and they are strongly admonished for asking. They get put back in their place and surrender to the status quo. Their leadership teaches them ‘don’t ask-don’t tell’.
Programs need to look at the difference between technical work and the need to go where time is of the essence. Simple rescue techniques that allow a team member to execute a fast moving and dynamic situation that is not in their textbook, nature will require it!
Reality avoidance is a huge liability.
GET ON YOUR BOAT
Technical work requires time, survivor(s) are not always able to afford that. There are times you go quicker than the training tempo, but personnel are ready to do so. Because they trained from a modern reality. They are not stuck in the past and they don’t stare at it.
This is really telling in the world of swift moving and surf rescue, where the conditions are not static but in constant stages of evolution.
Who takes those risks? Who takes the bigger risks? Identify those people. Empower them with the ability to compliment the risk. Because safety is not a word or a training manual, it’s a behavior in our world of risk.
Is your team physically fit? Does their PPE work, are they flexible wearing it, are they comfortable moving in the water wearing their PPE and moving through the water, back and forth, in and out, up and down, pulling, drawing and heaving? Ask yourself: Who is a liability and how is that being managed?
Public Safety Agencies should not be competitive against private service providers.
People who do this within the hierarchy of an agency structure must be exposed and removed from public service. They do not care about their teammates and their fear should not become a public liability.
Do not restrict these education gurus from the opportunity to enable agency team members to learn and glean new information and warnings that their team could not afford to learn - unless there was a mishap or a death involved from their own team actions. Why allow this to happen? The answers are laid our clearly here.
The calling for lifesaving lies within the spiritual fabric of an individual, or it’s a void and just a job.
Lifesaving is considered a sacred action throughout history. We gift medals to hero’s and laud their risks. Make sure you are not gifting a medal to somebody merely because they survived not killing themselves during a callout. We don’t need dead heroes!
Stop that negative potential and reprogram your training methodology, mindset and execution now, do not delay.
LAZINESS IS AN ENDING
Consultants and evaluators are the key to program security and safe practices. Unless your program has individuals, who are operating at 4,000 hours annually and specifically gleaning intel, connected with others who are doing so, comparing notes and results based off evidence, your program is at risk!
We will continue to see mishaps, deaths and equipment failures where agencies will say ‘we will learn lessons from this’. When in fact they should have taken the risk to prevent the liability when they knew it existed in the first place. It’s hard to accept the truth. It is even harder to hear it.
It seems impossible to change, but there are those brave few who will risk ridicule to ensure that their conscious is clear.
Does your program need an outside scrutineer to evaluate your program pitfalls? Is your program lazy, lax or lagging? I’m not talking about hiring surfers or kayakers, but professionals who are industry icons, proven and tested by the evidence they support and know the business of risk to protect reputation.
I will leave you with this observation from years of working with public safety agencies.
Do not be afraid of the water you work in. Make sure your personnel are ready for it. Vet your program attendees on physical fitness, and mental toughness so they can be comfortable working in the environment, under pressure.
Stop encouraging personnel to do ‘brain dead’ evolutions that do not allow them to be challenged for reality. Seek out your partners in water safety that are not within your normal scope of contact and listen to them. Research and have your program annually inspected, equipment with minimum carriage requirements and maintain certification expirations.
Review you program and be honest in your assessments of personnel response and functionality. Ensure your budget is in accordance with the need and you put the hours in for security.
Protect reputation. Handle program pitfalls, be better problem solvers, be willing to accept your problems and remedy them before the next call.
If someone challenges your program, celebrate that individual, take up their case.
Do not be afraid. Be brave, because courage is contagious.
Your people want to learn, give them permission.
Posted: December 3, 2019
Content Creator of Rescue Water Craft and Personal Water Craft boating international education standards: Shawn Alladio is the world’s foremost authority and leading subject matter expert. She cares most about her community and the culture surrounding the safety of event service providers and Rescue Water Craft operators, working hard and dedicated towards protecting their reputation, distributing safety information and continuing to train these amazing individuals to the highest standards of care.
Have any questions? Come train with us and discover what your community is doing to modernize standards, safety and reduce liability!
Caution: Use at your own risk. Please take a qualified Rescue Water Craft training course and maintain proper records and respect all the PWC, RWC, PPE, and gear OEM manufacturer warning labels and cautions.