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Car into the water call


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  • Car into the water call

    So the other day I responded to a vehicle in water. I get there 2nd on scene and vehicle is submerged. Maybe about 6 feet underwater but I wasn’t sure of the actual depth. Because I didn’t know the conditions and couldn’t see the roof I didn’t go in the water. Rescue arrived about 2 minutes later and pulled the person out in about 4 mins. I feel somewhat bad because as a scuba diver I am comfortable in the water but not knowing how far down it was, I didn’t want to become another casualty. But I feel like I might have been able to save the person. I had debated getting a scuba rescue bottle since my jurisdiction borders a lot of water but never did. In training they told us avoid the water but I still feel bad. Anyone ever feel like this or get some gear and additional training to help with these type of things?

    For reference this is the scuba bottle. Only provides maybe 3 mins of air but I keep replaying the maybe in my head.

  • #2
    Don’t beat yourself up. We crack jokes about Fire/EMS staging for just about every call that isn’t a structure fire. They do it all the time and no one seriously questions their dedication. If you get hurt, who can you help and how many resources need to be diverted to you instead of the original call?

    Maybe take this incident to Admin and work to develop a water response/rescue policy?
    semper destravit


    • #3
      Even with an air bottle, it’s not a great idea to enter the water alone, without other support units, and no communications.

      What if you get snagged or the car shifts and you get pinned. Currents? Ice is a real concern here in winter. As is hypothermia.

      Its just like fire. We aren’t equipped and trained to run into a burning building and attempt a rescue.

      It sounds like you made the right call.
      I make my living on Irish welfare.


      • #4
        No way in hell would I enter the water alone to do a rescue in those circumstances. Having "air" really isn't your problem it is current , visibility , and underwater hazards that are your problem in Public Safety rescue diving

        FYI just because you are a certified diver doesn't really prepare you for RESCUE diving.................Dive crews around here go through a separate certification to become Public Safety Divers & they NEVER dive alone............they wait for the team (all are cops)

        Don;t even think of beating yourself up ................while it would be nice to be able to save the person YOUR FIRST job is to get home at the end of your shift SAFELY
        Since some people need to be told by notes in crayon .......Don't PM me with without prior permission. If you can't discuss the situation in the open forum ----it must not be that important

        My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS


        • #5
          Thanks guys. Even though I’ve been OTJ for a while this was the first casualty I’ve been to that wasn’t obviously DRT. I think I was Monday morning quarterbacking myself too much


          • Bing_Oh
            Bing_Oh commented
            Editing a comment
            It's good to scenario this kind of stuff in your head, so consider the "Monday Morning Quarterbacking" healthy. But, the other guys are right...there's no reason to beat yourself up over something like this. Remember that a big rule is "you can't help somebody if you're a casualty yourself."

            You'll find out in the course of your career there are just some things that are beyond your control.

        • #6
          Thanks again for all the advice guys. I know I did the right thing by standing by, guess I just kinda needed to cycle through my thoughts since it was my first


          • #7
            The outcome is unfortunate...but you made a sound judgment call and (presumably) acted within agency guidelines.

            Replaying these types of incidents in your head for a while is normal and healthy. However, if you continue to beat yourself up over it and it's taking a real toll on you then you might want to talk to a mental health professional. There's no shame in it. Maybe also talk to the first officer on scene to see how he's processing the incident? And if you haven't already, speak to a supervisor. No doubt they'll assure you that you did the right thing.


            • #8
              Thanks I did both of those already. Sgt said it was a good move, sucks to stand by but a good move. It only happened yesterday and now it’s kinda starting to fade away into just another call. I appreciate all the advice and just letting me get it out to process a little bit. Time to enjoy my days off now and see what projects the mrs has for me.


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