This information sheet is primarily intended for persons associated with or working with the LRTC Emergency Response Team, however the information may be useful to other groups or private individuals who may wish to similarly equip their own technical large animal rescue team. This information sheet is a continuation from Part One.
Removing horses and other livestock from high water warrants carefully considered actions and proper equipment. This information sheet describes the water rescue equipment carried on the Special Operations Support (SOS) trailer and provides recommendations as to when and how it should be used. However nothing in this information sheet should supersede the use of sound judgment and adaptation as may be warranted due to unexpected or changing conditions.
Part Two of this information sheet is intended to provide recommended procedures when responding to flood calls involving large animals and livestock.
Equipment to deploy (stored on the SOS Unit.)
- Personal Flotation Devices.
- Personal safety rope bag, webbing and carabiners.
- Water rescue emergency throw bag.
- Appropriate helmets. (Do not use brush fire helmets for water rescue!)
- Water Rescue Box: "Blue Box" with Water Rescue Harness and accessories.
- Extra roll of styrene (floating) line: Stored in lower front compartment.
- Reflective vests.
- Trem (orange) personal safety harness (minimum.)
The Water Rescue Harness and accessories are stored in the "Blue Tub" marked "Water Rescue Harness."
General Safety Protocols
- Ensure that the access road is sound and that you have a way out. Running water can undermine roads and rising water can result in your being a part of an escalating problem rather than your helping resolve the problem.
- Assess for all possible hazards when entering any high risk situation. Unseen hazards can be present under the water. Use personal safety lines where appropriate. Consider floating the rescue equipment to the rescue site using empty stock tanks or flotation devices rather than carrying this equipment. The water rescue harness will float and can be pulled over the water using a lead line. ONLY use polypropylene rope for water rescues as it will float and significantly reduce the risk of rescuers or animals getting entangled in ropes.
Other relevant considerations
- Personal accountability is critical in water rescue situations. Incident Command or the Animal Rescue Group Supervisor must be aware of the locations where teams are working, when they enter higher risk areas and when they are clear. Team members must continuously account for each other.
- If there is sufficient high ground that is secure, sheltering in place is often the best option. Encourage peer-to-peer sheltering wherever appropriate.
- It is essential to have someone designated as the Safety Officer in flood rescue situations so that someone's primary attention is always focused on changing conditions and developing hazards.
- Be keenly aware of potential electrical hazards in high water situations.
- ALWAYS have an exit strategy.