New Equipment Improves Rescue Efforts

By: James Steiner
By: James Steiner

During the summertime, the Sparks Marina is flooded with boaters and swimmers. On these warm days, they're easily tempted to take a dip.

During a particular rescue scenario here, a vacationer has started to drown...and the Washoe County Hasty Team springs to action.

Christopher Phipps, a member of the Hasty Team, points out how critical time is when it comes to a person's survival.

"We go by the Golden Hour Rule with drowning victims," Phipps says. "Get to them in less than an hour, and their chance of survival is increased."

It usually takes divers several minutes to get to a victim, because they first have to suit up with all their equipment. But now, thanks to a City of Sparks donation, they can make a rescue even in street clothes, with the purchase of the Rapid Diver.

"This kind of gear you use when you have a good idea where the victim is," Phipps explains. "We can set up a team in case it's a more extensive search."

Back to the rescue scenario...the Hasty Team has back-up divers who enter the water after a first man goes under.

At the Sparks Marina, there's practically no visibility...so he has to depend on team members to help him navigate the rescue.

"The diver uses his hands on the bottom and kicks up a lot of silt," Phipps says. "The tender controls where the diver goes and they communicate through the rope pulls."

The rope also helps to guide the diver after he locates the drowning victim. Search and Rescue Crews made two attempts using the new equipment, and they found the victim successfully....both times in under five minutes.


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