Here is the first update on saftey and New River Academy, where I (Tracy) am a student. Pic on the left is all of us listening to a lecture on river safety. Sorry for the lack of pictures, I was to busy participating to really take any :)
This past week with NRS, we stayed in Massachusettes at Tino Specht's house (one of our coaches). Through Zoar Outdoor we took an intense SRT clinic. I've already taken numerous, but always enjoy new clinics because there is always more to learn. It was FREEZING. The water and temperature outside were both uninviting. We learned about setting up z-drags, different weight ratios, throw bags, zip lines, live bait, and all that good stuff. It definitaly drew our group closer to learn about dangerous situations and see how we all reacted to them. I was IC for a foot entrapment victim with the head submerged. It is always a challenge to control and lead a group in an intense situation. Within minutes we had the victim's head out of the water with a line around the chest, and another line cinching him so he couldn't slip away. Then we took two throw ropes hooked together and sunk the line down by his foot. By pulling back on both the lines set up, we managed to unhook the foot and free the victim. It was surprisingly stressful.
Although the situations we ran through were not real, there was still a sense of urgency that overtook the group. It is really good practice to go through these situations yearly because it keeps you up to date, and on spot with the group you paddle with. Nothing can mimic a true situation on the river, but I can only hope that with all the practice I've had, I'd be able to keep my calm and do what needs to be done.
I think one of the hardest lessons to learn is that the victum does not come first during a rescue. First priority is yourself, then your fellow rescuers, then the other paddlers on the river, and THEN the victim. Thinking logically, this makes sense because it avoids creating a worse situation by preventing multiple people in need of saving. However, I know that being out on the river, and seeing a friend in trouble, It would be nearly impossible to stand by and do nothing just because I could get hurt. That sounds like the worst possible situation to be in.
SRT courses really help to educate about not only rescue techniques, but how to avoid getting into situations where these techniques are needed. My goal for this year with New River Academy is to make it as safe and fun as possible.
If you have not taken any courses on river safety, I really reccomend getting on that ASAP.
Keep it safe out there!