How are drowning victims rescued now?
To rescue drowning victims on call teams are used, consisting of divers and their supervisor. Based on a situation analysis, a grid is laid out in which the diver must search. If this is a grid of 25 square meters, for example, each meter must be searched piece by piece. This is labor intensive and takes a lot of time, time that drowning victims do not always have!
There is always a backup diver who can also be used to relieve or speed up the process, but the safety of the divers themselves must also be considered. No one wants to see extra injuries during a rescue mission. It is therefore important to combine effectiveness and safety for an ideal outcome, but how can this be done?
Who is responsible?
Netherlands Coastguard regulates ‘large’ areas including the coastal areas (Wadden Sea North Sea), the streams near Zeeland and the IJsselmeer. In addition, there are 2 possibilities, a safety region calls in the KNRM, (this however only concerns the inland waterways, including rivers and lakes.) or the safety region takes action itself without communication with the KNRM.
In the latter case, the respective safety region calls on its own equipment. Here they often choose who or what is fastest on the spot to carry out the required actions. (Quote from Safety Region Midden-West Brabant: “In practice, this will therefore be done by the best-equipped party”) This concerns the execution of Search and Rescue missions.
What are the results?
The first thing to state is that we have deep respect for the men and women who work in this sector! And of course, if they had a method that didn’t work at all, this would have been eliminated long ago. So the results are not purely negative.
Results vary by action and situation. In turbid water it is more difficult for a diver to search, and he or she must be extra careful to keep himself or herself safe. Searching by touch here therefore takes a very long time. In clear water situations the search is often already easier and the diver can work better..
The desired result is always to get the drowning person out of the water alive! But unfortunately this is not always possible. If a drowning person has been trapped underwater for several minutes, the chance of survival are slim. This is very unfortunate, but even then it is important to get this drowning person above water. This offers security and closure options to family and friends of the deceased.
How can we help?
So the desired result is not always achieved yet! This is a big problem, which we can reduce. With the underwater drones there are more possibilities underwater and this will therefore improve the response and search time!
We are able to:
Reduce the search time:
- We can reduce the search time by scanning out in front of the diver with the sonar, thus reducing the search area. (Visibility up to 30 meters on the sonar!!!)
- Giving sight in turbid water, so images are not purely by touch.
- Helping with the search in another area, cutting the search time in half.
Contain the risks to diving teams:
- Conduct safety and risk analysis prior to dive, and identify hazardous areas to the diver.
- Entering unsafe areas themselves.
- Be able to monitor divers for safety during the dive, and assist with problems if necessary.
Helping to surface drowning victims:
- With the grapple, we can attach ourselves to the drowning person, and help get them to the surface.
- Float above or against a drowning victim, and let a diver swim down via the thether.
The difference of H2O drones:
So, as stated above, we offer many different benefits, which each person has to weigh for themselves. Our main views are about safety, of everyone above and below the water. This can be done by inspecting before and after a diving action, analyzing images and situations and evaluating them.
The ROVs can take a beating, and would rather get into a (potentially) unsafe situation than you. Drones may come with a price tag, but you can’t say this about human lives!