The rules of swiftwater

I would like to touch on two points: the cable and swiftwater rescue standards.

As a former raft guide, certified Rescue 3 International swiftwater level 2 technician and whitewater enthusiast both in closed and open boat for over 15 years, I have to question why a fixed cable was introduced into the rescue environment on the Goat River on the day Sheila Sweatman lost her life.

I would like to touch on two points: the cable and swiftwater rescue standards.

The fact that the RCMP gave the go ahead to use the cable shows their lack of understanding of river rescue techniques; had the RCMP been trained they may have thought twice about giving the go ahead to use a steel cable. Rescue techniques may have changed since I was certified under Rescue 3 International but moving water is moving water; that never changes nor do the rules around swiftwater.

The second thought I have is why there needs to be BC swiftwater standards? There are global standards with Rescue 3 International who have been audited independently to be “compliant with NFPA 1670 standard for technical rescue in high risk environments including swiftwater, ice and rope rescue.” Why not adopt their international standards?

I would encourage both law enforcement and firefighters to get swifwater training. It will only aid them in their jobs alongside search and rescue groups, even if they never get in the water during a rescue they will have a better understanding of how moving water works and rescue techniques around swiftwater. We are surrounded by fast moving creeks and rivers here in the Kootenays; it only makes sense.

It is sad that Sheila had to be the second victim. It is something every river rescue professional wants to avoid; losing one of their own. Let’s hope Nelson Search and Rescue and other regional search and rescue groups throughout the province consider adopting the Rescue 3 International standards in the future and apply those standards consistently.

Dana Diotte

Nelson

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

New seniors care facility in Nelson to be built at Mount St. Francis site

Mount St. Francis hasn’t been in use since 2005

UPDATED: Interior Health to add 495 long-term seniors care beds

Nelson, Kelowna, Kamloops, Vernon and Penticton to receive new facilities

MP Morrison pushes for accountability following federal fiscal update

Kootenay-Columbia parliamentarian says it is time to restart the economy

Provincial COVID-19 data can now be used for B.C. to prepare for a second wave

In the past week, B.C. has seen a slight spike in daily test-positive case counts

Haitian foster children arrive in Nelson after months-long lobbying effort

Marie-Paule Brisson and Sebastien De Marre have parented girls age 12 and 8 since they were babies

B.C. records 62 new COVID-19 cases, two deaths since Friday

Province has just over 200 active cases

Hotel rooms for B.C. homeless too hasty, NDP government told

Businesses forced out, but crime goes down, minister says

Wage subsidy will be extended until December amid post-COVID reopening: Trudeau

Trudeau said the extension will ‘give greater certainty and support to businesses’

B.C. government prepares for COVID-19 economic recovery efforts

New measures after July consultation, Carole James says

Tree planters get help with COVID-19 protective measures

Ottawa funds extra transportation, sanitizing for crews

Trudeau apologizes for not recusing himself from WE decision

He says his and his family’s longtime involvement with the WE organization should have kept him out of the discussions

Beverly Hills 90210 star’s family selling Vancouver Island Beach Resort

You can own Jason Priestley’s Terrace Beach Resort in Ucluelet for less than $5 million

New comet appears in pre-dawn sky above Cranbrook

Neowise can be seen without a telescope over the next couple of weeks

Most Read