Emergency Vehicle egress from a body of water.
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November 3, 2019 at 7:46 pm #126080Joe (G.W.N.S.)Moderator
This is a result of comments from the Thread Automotive Security Window Film.
Vehicles; regardless of type, sometimes find themselves in a deep body of water. This can be from accidental to intentional for a variety of reasons.
This is potentially a deadly situation. Some of us have had actual hands on training for this situation. Without this training you will be at a disadvantage, however the following information will walk you through the steps required for egress.
It can be further complicated by darkness, injury from impact, vision obscured from chemicals in the water.
Note: Wait for violent motion to stop before releasing safety restraints.
In an automobile the first thing is to lower all windows, wait too long and power may not be available.
If alone grab a reference point before releasing safety restraints. This ensures your situation awareness if vision impaired and your buoyancy may inadvertently move your position.
If window is down grasp window edge with free hand before releasing reference point then while grasping window edge with both hands forcefully pull then push yourself free. If you can see them follow the bubbles, if not allow buoyancy to bring upper body more upright to determine direction to water surface.
You would be surprised with the number of people that immediately start swimming in wrong direction taking themselves deeper.
If windows can not be lowered you will either have to break window or allow automobile to fill completely with water in order to open door due to differential pressure.
The preferred method to break windows (windshield is the exception) is a dedicated tool such as pictures below. Get one with a mount to attached to vehicle.
Note: Most come with an integrated seat belt cutter.
If window has aftermarket tint film or security film. It may take repeated attempts around perimeter of window to defeat film. A last ditch improvised method could be your CCW. If all else fails again wait for pressure to equalize and open doors.
If you have passengers you may have to assist them, in which case I would try to leave your safety restraints on or use egress tool to cut chest portion for increased mobility. You will most likely end up getting kicked by them as they scramble out (part of the reason to keep your restraints on if possible). With multiple children this could be very difficult. This also emphasizes the need to teach children to swim as early as possible.
If you have to move about interior of vehicle ensuring a firm handhold reference point is critical to your survival, it is easy to panic and lose awareness without them.
If you have to stay in vehicle longer to aid others opening a door maybe worth the extra time as most vehicles are nose heavy and may invert when impacting water floor, due to currents, or vehicle cargo. Vehicle may settle in silt/mud preventing exit from Windows in such conditions.
Note: Helicopters invert after water entry due to design. Small aircraft (particularly high wing) tend to nose over becoming inverted. In aircraft study emergency placards.
- This topic was modified 2 months, 2 weeks ago by Joe (G.W.N.S.).
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November 4, 2019 at 1:10 am #126112JCParticipant
As someone with lots of time in helo “dunkers” I can tell you it is critical that you never – ever- let go of a reference point, until you have a solid handhold on another reference. You literally hand over-hand yourself from one reference point to another, until you can egress the vehicle.
Also, if you are not strapped in, it is common for the in-wash of water to move you about in a vehicle. You will likely be tumbled and lose all sense of direction. This is especially dangerous in the dark, but even during the day, water can be dark and murky and it can be very easy to lose all sense of direction. This can be fatal in a larger craft/vehicle where you may not be able to find you way to an exit. So, as advised above, stay strapped in until violent motion stops.
Also, many people get totally disoriented when inverted. Remember, if you are strapped into an inverted vehicle, and the exit was to your right before being inverted, it is still on your right. Before releasing your restraints, get that solid handhold on a reference, and hand-over hand yourself to that exit.
November 4, 2019 at 2:16 am #126118wheelseeParticipant
We have a phrase in rescue / dive –
Relax, THINK! You have the rest of your life to figure it out.
November 4, 2019 at 1:15 pm #126169Joe (G.W.N.S.)Moderator
Good comments JC and Wheelsee.
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