Rescue Hierarchy

When it comes to managing rescues it is important to remember the rescue hierarchy:

  1. Self: Your safety comes first!
  2. Group:  The rest of the group needs to be kept safe.
  3. Casualty: Rescuing the casualty.
  4. Equipment: Rescue the kayakand equipment only if it doesn’t jeopardise one of the above three, equipment can be replaced…

So what does this mean?

First take the time to assess the situation and the risks that are present, then make sure the rest of the group aren’t going to come to harm and then start the actual recue.

Once you start the rescue itself don’t confuse the hierarchy order of Casualty then equipment to mean that you should go to the casualty first.  You should assure yourself that the casualty is not coming to more harm /jeopardy, reassure them and then probably recover their kayak and paddle before rescuing them.  An unattended kayak and paddle can quickly get away from you if there is any wind or current about, a paddler in the water won’t move anything like as fast.  Getting the kayak and taking it to the swimmer will, in almost all cases, result in getting the swimmer back in their kayak faster than trying to take the swimmer to the kayak.  Of course, if it’s safe to do so having one member of the group get the swimmer whilst another get’s the kayak can improve things but only if that member of the group is sure to get he swimmer without becoming a second swimmer…