People are often involved in dangerous or harmful situations. They therefore, need to be saved or rescued from such situations to prevent loss of lives and property.


Meaning of Rescue Operations

Rescue operations are responsive operations usually involving the saving of life or preventing injury to an individual during an accident.

To be rescued means to be saved from any violence, danger or evil or to be freed or liberated from confinement or any other physical restraint.

The procedure in rescue operation involves the use of available personnel and facilities in locating and providing immediate aid to persons, living things or property that are in actual or imminent distress. Rescue operations are most commonly carried out in the urban and sub-urban locations, areas of large bodies of water, mountains, deserts and forests.

It requires a high degree of training and is performed by the rescue squad, either independent or part of larger organisations, such as the fire service, police, military, first aiders or ambulance services. They are usually medically trained personnel.


Different Aspects of Rescue Operations

Safety is an essential aspect of every rescue operation that all participants have responsibilities to carry out. The method of rescue to be used shall be decided after consideration of all relevant factors which include:

  1. actions taken by the locating team and the actions that can be taken by other teams at the scene.
  2. location of the survivors.
  3. condition of survivors and medical considerations.
  4. environmental considerations.
  5. available rescue operation facilities and their state of readiness.
  6. effect of weather.
  7. time of the day.
  8. any risks involving rescue operators at the scene.


The different aspects of rescue operations include the following:

  1. Rescue communication: Communication networks of various aspects are essential for the safe execution of a rescue operation.
  2. Rope rescue: It refers to any rescue operation where a rope is required to safely move the concerned victim, the rescuer or both.
  3. Road rescue: It is a set of specialised rescue techniques. It involves using tools to free patients from a car crash and giving first aid to the victims.
  4. Cave rescue: This requires specialised and rare skills. It is one in which injured or trapped victims are medically treated and extracted from cave environments.
  5. Mountain rescue: It requires special training and techniques which include: glacier travelling; climbing steep snow and icelands; rock climbing and short rope skills.
  6. Helicopter rescue: This involves using an helicopter for tracking. It is a very old and useful technique for finding a lost person.
  7. Water rescue: It is a process of rescuing a person in a body of water and water reservoirs.
  8. Swift water rescue: It is a process of rescuing a person in a moving water that has the possibility of knocking someone off his feet.
  9. Ice rescue: This is a process of rescuing a person trapped in ice by making use of any object that can be used to get a grip on the ice like screwdrivers or knives.


Securing the Environment

The environmental security of vehicles and victims include the following:

  1. securing the accident area.
  2. providing first aid until help arrives.
  3. safe guarding personal property.
  4. conducting an accident investigation.
  5. supervising the clearance of the accident area.
  6. assisting disabled motorists.
  7. directing traffic.


Steps involved in Rescue Operations

Search and rescue consist of three separate operations. These are:

  1. Size-up, which involves assessing the situation and determining a safe action plan.
  2. Search, which involves locating the victims and documenting their locations.
  3. Rescue, which involves the procedures and methods required to extricate the victims.


The steps involved in rescue operation are as follows:

  1. Call for the search and rescue unit immediately. Most search and rescue teams around the country are volunteer units. They work because they love helping people and do not mind giving up their personal time.
  2. Protect the scene: It is important to protect the person’s personal items. Do not let anyone go near those things until trained rescuers have an opportunity to collect scene articles and search for any other clue.
  3. Conduct initial witness interviews with a search in mind.
  4. Assign someone to do a quick preliminary search.
  5. Begin containing the search subject.
  6. Isolate the victims’ family or witness.
  7. Be willing to relinquish control of the scene when search and rescue units arrive.


Vehicle Extrication

Vehicle extrication is the process of removing a vehicle around a person who has been involved in a motor vehicle accident. A delicate approach is needed when conventional means of exit are impossible or unadvisable to minimise injury to the victim. Extrication include: patient assessment, treatment and removal of the patient from the vehicle.

The basic extrication process consist of the following.

  1. The protection of the accident scene, to avoid the risk of another collision.
  2. Patient medical assessment by a qualified medical rescuer.
  3. Securing the vehicle to prevent an unexpected movement.
  4. The opening of the vehicle and the deformation of the structure such as removing a window to allow the intervention of a first responder inside the vehicle to better assess the patient and begin care.
  5. Removal of a section of the vehicle to allow safe removal of the accident victim, especially respecting the head-neck-back axis.
  6. Removal of the person from the vehicle. In cases of less complicated issues, it is possible to extricate the casualty without cutting the vehicle.

A trained medical personnel enters the cabin to perform first aid on the casualty. This include: mid-level assessment, stopping the bleeding, putting a cervical collar on the patient and providing oxygen aid.

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