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Old 06-10-2010   #11
Ed Hansen's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 331
Originally Posted by JCKeck1 View Post
When will FDs learn that they are the ones generally grossly incompetent in SWR? Somehow they take one three day class every year, buy a shit ton of insanely expensive, underutilized tools and then assume they are the experts. They are the experts at extremely difficult body extractions after people have drown. I'd take my kayaking buddies in any life/death situation, any time, any place and probably 80% of raft guides too. We operate in this environment 100 days/year and have actually seen shit go down and saves happen.

Sorry I had to vent, but I'm really sick of dealing with these FD/S&R chumps that have more toys than experience. The only ones worth their salt are the occasional volunteer organizations that tend to operate on a shoestring budget. The volunteers generally seem to actually have experience or know they are outclassed and get out of the way.
As a volunteer firefighter, I'm glad to hear that we are not all bad.

"So in two seconds, away we went, a sliding down the river, and it did seem so good to be free again and all by ourselves on the big river and nobody to bother us." -Mark Twain (The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn)
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Old 06-11-2010   #12
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Seattle, Washington
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Ha, yeah I know. Now I'm gonna hear it from all the firefighters and the women they loved last night.

I've worked in emergencies for the better part of my life now and the way to approach a scene is to make a quick assessment as to whether the team present is working effectively and if so, ask "how can I help?" Extremely rarely, what's happening is not working or is unsafe and a stand down is needed, but most FD/S&R people are bolstered up on bravado and make that call way too early.

I certainly don't know the full story here, but Forrest's solution sounds about right to me. And if everyone was breathing on shore, then certainly arrests were uncalled for.

That being said, at least all you firefighters out there have this:

Which is some damn funny shit.

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Old 06-11-2010   #13
Jenks, Oklahoma
Join Date: Oct 2004
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Not being there on site, we do not know exactly what went down and was said. I did read the news article and base my opinions on that.

I have decades of WW boating trips, used to be a ACA Swiftwater Instructor and for a few years was a volunteer fireman. I do not consider myself an expert, but do understand the stress a rescue situation puts people under.

If I was the young ladies Dad and someone showed up on the opposite bank to comfort and help my kid -- I would be extremely thankful for that person no matter how he got there.

Many of us WW boaters have had experiences where the professional fire departments were basically a holes when it comes to help from WW boaters in rescue situations. They do have way too many toys these days and some times do not show common sense. In my opinion the Incident Commander did more harm than good for future rescue's by putting the guide in handcuffs. Every river guide I have ever known took it personal when it came to taking care of their guests. Same for private boaters helping out anyone who needed help.

I know during my days as a volunteer fireman we got trained on the entire gear list whereas the "local professional departments" did not. That gave us a edge when we were on duty.

I do not want to take away from the professional fire and police departments at all. They have a difficult job and are appreciated for what they do. I do think they shoot themselves in the foot when they put river guides in hand cuffs after they do what this young man did. I do not know him but think he was perfectly comfortable swimming across the creek and in fact showed a lot of skill by picking a good spot to swim. I bet that young lady was glad to see him next to her no matter how he got there.

Maybe the local fire department needs to take a leadership seminar and learn to cool it. There may well be a future situation where one of the local guides or even private boaters can provide help but decide to stay out of it due to fear of a set of handcuffs.

A public apology from the incident commander and police would go a long way to making this unnecessary arrest a thing of the past.
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Old 06-11-2010   #14
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Longmont, Colorado
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On a different note, it sounds like she was safe on the other side and swimming across was an unnecessary risk. Don't get me wrong, I agree there is plenty of incompetence out there, but without any immediate threat to her life there was no need for assistance. The arrest was necessary though.
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Old 06-11-2010   #15
Land of Lovin, Colorado
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What I want to know is why the inflatable raft and rope set up instead of just tossing a rope across the river and having her and the guide pendulum across? Is it seriously that gnarly that they couldn't do a simple rope rescue? We used the pendulum method to get a 9 year old across the river earlier this year, it was not a big deal and she had just come from a bad swim.
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Old 06-11-2010   #16
Buena Aurora, Colorado
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my guess is that the poor guide had a boatload of...

people that couldn't follow directions or they wouldn't have missed the takeout in the first place

the news video showed the boat-ferry operation that looked fine but if i'd have been on the bank waiting for help and seen a 300 lb old man in a big bird suit coming for me, i'd have swum for it!

i'd love to see him make it through guide training!
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Old 06-11-2010   #17
Join Date: Oct 2003
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Clear Creek has been closed to all but professional rafters and kayakers in Jefferson County, due to the high water volume, but there are no restrictions in Clear Creak County.
I don't think so bitches. No matter how high the water, it's legal to float (unless you're in a single chamber inflatable) and you can't stop me. I'll be home tonight - anyone want to swim over to river right and have a nice picnic dinner with a 30 pack of PBR? We can hang out long enough to likely get on the news like them professional rescuers.

Does anyone know where the rescue team is from - IE Jefferson or Clear Creek? I ask, because it seems that all of these conflict "rescues" occur up in Clear Creek Canyon and no where else.
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Old 06-11-2010   #18
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Front Range, "Beautiful Colorado"
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Here's how i see it. The guide is his own entity and choose to take a child under 16 down a raging river at his own expense. If the guide was 1st to the scene and active in a rescue scenario. Taking point organized and doing the so called right thing then the authority should stay out of his hair.

1 hour long training sessions with kick boards and flippers verses a young able bodied river guide who spends 8 - 12 hrs a day on the river at all recreational flow levels. Gee I wonder who should be on point and making decisions...?

seems he's the one who will be arrested for negligence or something if the child were to end up dead. He's responsible from the moment he said he take the group til the moment they are all back and acct'd for. My guess is the FD and crew were called once again by some bystander driving down the canyon and the guides didn't want anything to do with those FD guys. They just showed up. Interfear my ass.... The guide was only doing his job you know the one the family hired him to do.... WTF is right...
" ...this is the hardest sport I've ever tried!!",E. Brown, 2003
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Old 06-11-2010   #19
dillon, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 281
So what can we do is there a way to contact someone...maybe the raft company and let them know we support a fellow guide? I have swam across several rivers during my guiding career and shudder to think I may be arrested for using my own judgement to recover my customers or gear. Maybe we could write letters to the FD and SAR over there, or to someone else in the county?
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Old 06-11-2010   #20
Jenks, Oklahoma
Join Date: Oct 2004
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addendum to what chepora said.

ACA Swift Water rescue does a lot of in water swimming and wading rescue drills. Depending on the situation, getting into the water is very appropriate for most rescue situation. It is the easy way to get it done.

Commercial river guides are in the water swimming most every day either for fun or just doing their job and for the most part are in great physical shape. Most days they get to perform some type of rescue scenario just because it is normal for guests to fall off the raft. They are comfortable doing river rescue.

My bet is the Incident Commander's tool kit contains the skill set to set up all sorts of complicated toys to get across a creek --- none of which includes letting some one swim across an appropriate section of the river and walk the kid out. Many times a simple approach is the right way to get the job done.

By the way, my bet is the fireman are trained and required to wear a bunch of heavy gear while on scene. Probably no way they could swim with all the heavy gear they had on.

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