Not only do we battle chance and time in a rescue situation, but we’re often stuck battling inclement weather as well. In these situations, it’s often the weather that has taken control of the situation, and it’s our duty to hunker down and get the job done through the danger and pressure.
When tornadoes rip through Midwestern towns; when hurricanes blast the East and Gulf Coast; when earthquakes make Western cities tremble to the ground, it’s tough to perform to our maximum potential. But it’s made easier with a little preparation and the best in all-weather gear.
Here’s how to be prepared for an emergency rescue in any weather.
Keeping out the Elements
The hardest part about accessing your medical tools and other bacterially-sensitive gear in the rain is keeping them clean. However, there are pup tents and bivouac shelters you can carry along with you to ensure you’ll be able to work with precision no matter how hard the wind blows outside. They are often quick to set up and light weight as well, and many of them will fit inside a backpack or emergency response bag easily enough.
When it snows, you not only need to keep out the elements for yourself, but your ability to do so for your rescued person is paramount. If you’ve performed a swift water rescue in freezing temperatures or a mountainside rescue in a blizzard, an emergency blanket and bivouac are necessities.
When the Elements Keep You Out
Perhaps one of the more difficult rescue operations to perform in inclement weather is confined space rescue, depending on the environment. If someone is trapped below ground in a well or sewer, rainwater and other precipitation creates a drowning risk on top of the existing danger of asphyxiation.
Look for confined space rescue equipment that provides solid grips, waterproof fibers and water-repellent capabilities. Using a rope that won’t slip in situations where friction is lost could make a huge difference.
Since you’re always at a risk of losing your equipment in an emergency where weather reigns supreme, make sure you have backup emergency medical supplies in your truck or elsewhere. You never know when you’ll have to get right back out into the field, and you don’t want to be caught without the gear you need to continue performing at your best.