Monthly Archives: September 2014

Cold Water

hypothermia-huddle

Courtesy US Coast Guard

09/30/14
To Do Today:

  • PT – Cardio – 1hr Swim // Strength – Chest and Biceps
  • Practice the floatation methods described below in a pool until mastered

Avoiding Heat Loss in Cold Water

The rate of heat exchange in water is about 25 times greater than it is in air of the same  temperature. When you are immersed in cold water, hypothermia occurs rapidly due to the  decreased insulating quality of wet clothing and as a result of water displacing the layer of still  air that normally surrounds the body.

Survival-TableYou also lose about 50 percent of your body heat through your head; therefore, keep your head out of the water. Other areas of high heat loss are the neck, the armpits/sides, and the groin:

heatloss1In cold water, DO NOT SWIM TO STAY WARM. Swimming, even with a slow and steady stroke, produces a lot of heat that is lost in the water. The heat loss can produce hypothermia that slows body functions and can result in serious injury or death. Remaining motionless conserves body heat three times longer than swimming. SWIM only if you have flotation and the shoreline is visible.

Individual Protection From Cold Water

If you are equipped with a life preserver, assume the Heat Escape Lessening Posture (known as  the HELP position) to slow heat loss and to protect major blood vessels near the body’s surface.  These areas lack insulating fat and are vulnerable to the chilling effects of cold water.

heatloss2To assume the HELP position:

  • Tuck your chin down tightly to cover your throat.
  • Draw your legs up in a fetal position to protect the groin.
  • Place your arms across your chest, tuck your hands into your armpits.
  • Wear some type of head covering (e.g., stowed cover, towel, handkerchief) to lessen heat loss through the scalp if head covering is available.

Group Protection From the Cold

If three or more swimmers are in the water and are equipped with life preservers, they should wedge tightly together and lock arms to form a circle known as a huddle position.

heatloss3This position protects vulnerable areas from heat loss. A casualty who is suffering from the effects of the cold can be placed within the huddle to be surrounded by warmer water. If in the water for a  prolonged period, it is recommended that everyone be rotated inside the huddle to maintain or re-warm each person’s internal core temperature. If there are more than five swimmers, they  should make clusters of huddle positions. Contact with other swimmers provides survival advantages:

  • Creates a larger target for search and rescue aircraft
  • Provides additional warmth in cold water
  • Improves morale
  • Establishes/re-establishes leadership
  • Reduces shock and panic
  • Provides opportunities to administer first aid
  • Supports the exhausted

Information contained on this website is for general information and educational purposes only. Please refer to our Disclaimer and Terms and Conditions before attempting any technique described herein.

Survival Float

sknot

09/26/14
To Do Today:

  • PT – Cardio – 1hr Swim // Strength – Leg group
  • Tie the square knot (or Reef Knot), described in the graphic above, until you can do it behind your back with your eyes closed. It is easy to remember: Left over Right, Right over Left. The Square Knot is used for connecting lines but can be unreliable after repeated use so do not use for climbing/belay/etc.
  • Review additional details of the square knot here
  • Practice the floatation methods described below in a pool until mastered
  • Friday rules in effect 1730

Staying Afloat Without a Life Preserver

If you find yourself in open water without any floating objects or a life preserver these techniques may help you survive. These expedient flotation techniques are best used with a standard military blouse, trousers, and boots but other loose fitting or outdoor style clothing will work as well.

Floating With an Inflated Blouse

It is possible to float by a bubble of air trapped in the shoulders of your blouse or loose fitting cotton/poly blend shirt. The air rises to the back and shoulders of the blouse and supports you at the water’s surface. An inflated blouse is also a temporary flotation device used by weaker swimmers while trying to remove their trousers. There is a primary and an alternate way to create a bubble of trapped air in a blouse:

A. Primary Method

  • Turn the collar inside the blouse to help create a seal.
  • Unbutton top button and pull collar around mouth and nose.
  • Take a deep breath and bend forward slightly at the waist.
  • Exhale one-half to three-quarters of a breath into the blouse. Grasp and twist the collar with one hand to create a seal, this prevents air from escaping out from the collar.
  • Use your free hand and feet to stroke and kick to the surface.
  • Gather and hold the blouse tightly at the collar and stomach level to prevent the blouse from losing air if it floats up too high.
  • Splash water on the blouse periodically to prevent the material from drying, dry material allows air to escape.
  • Repeat inflation as required.

 B. Alternate Method

  • Turn the collar inside the blouse to help create a seal.
  • Unbutton the second button from the top.
  • Take a deep breath and bend forward slightly at the waist.
  • Place your mouth and nose inside the hole created by the open button and exhale one-half to three-quarters of a breath into the blouse.
  • Grasp material at the unbutton portion and pull downward.
  • Use your free hand and feet to stroke and kick to the surface.
  • Splash water on the blouse periodically to prevent the material from drying, dry material allows air to escape.
  • Repeat inflation as required.

Floating With Inflated Trousers

In warm water, trousers can be used as a primary expedient flotation device. However, in cold water, submerging your head to remove and inflate your trousers results in heat and energy losses that negate the benefit of using the trousers as a flotation device. Once your trousers are inflated, you float motionlessly as if wearing a life preserver. If needed, assume the heat escape lessening posture to slow heat loss. As trousers dry, air leaks out of the legs. To slow this process, occasionally splash water on the fabric. Re-inflate trousers as needed.

Sling Method

The sling method works if you are a strong swimmer or naturally very buoyant. Take the following steps to inflate trousers using the sling method:

  • Take a deep breath, bend over, and remove your boots.

WSF1

  • Retain your boots. Tie the boot laces together and suspend the boots from your blouse or hang them around your neck so that they rest on your chest.
  • Remove your trousers. Button or zip the trouser fly closed. This allows you to control airflow.

WSF9

  • Tie the bottoms of the trouser legs in a square knot.

WSF3

  • Ensure that the front (fly) of the trousers faces you.
  • Hold the trousers above the water’s surface and behind your head. Grasp both sides of the waistband and open with both hands.
  • Kick strongly to stay on top of the water while slinging the trousers overhead in order to trap air into them. Once the waistband is submerged in the water, air is trapped in the legs.

WSF4

  • Hold and seal the waistband underwater.

WSF21

  • Slip the inflated legs over your head. Hold the waistband in toward your chest, the fly facing your body. To prevent air from escaping from the trousers, seal the waistband by either folding it or twisting it.
  • Lie back and relax, resting the back of your neck against the knot.

WSF6

  • Splash water on the trousers periodically to prevent the material from drying. Dry material allows air to escape.

WSF20To replenish air in the trousers, you will use a technique known as the scooping method. With one hand on the open waistband, extend the trousers in front of you just below the surface of the water and scoop air bubbles with your free hand into the open waistband until the trousers have sufficient air. Repeat as necessary.

WSF15


Splash Method

The splash method is an alternative to the sling method. As with the sling method, you must kick strongly to remain at the surface. To inflate trousers using the splash method, perform the following:

  • Take a deep breath, bend over, and remove/retain your boots as described above.
  • Remove your trousers. Button or zip the trouser fly closed. This allows you to control airflow.
  • Tie the bottoms of the trouser legs in a square knot.
  • Ensure that the front (fly) of the trousers faces you.
  • Hold the trousers at the water’s surface out in front of you by the waistband with the fly up.

WSF22

  • Grasp the waistband at the surface with one hand. Insert your free hand into the waistband, palm down.
  • Flutter your hand rapidly to create bubbles. This sends a mixture of water and air bubbles into the trousers. The water passes through the fabric. The air remains trapped in the legs.

WSF12

  • Hold and seal the waistband underwater.
  • Slip the inflated legs over your head.
  • Hold the waistband in toward your chest, the fly facing your body.
  • To prevent air from escaping from the trousers, seal the waistband by either folding it or  twisting it. Lie back and relax, resting the back of your neck against the knot.

WSF6

  • Splash water on the trousers periodically to prevent the material from drying. Dry material allows air to escape.

To replenish air in the trousers, use the scooping method and repeat as necessary.


Blow Method

The blow method is an alternative to the sling method. Use the blow method if you are a weak swimmer. Take the following steps to inflate trousers using the blow method:

  • Take a deep breath, bend over, and remove/retain your boots as described above.
  • Remove your trousers.
  • Button or zip the trouser fly closed. This allows you to control airflow.
  • Tie the bottoms of the trouser legs in a square knot.
  • Ensure that the front (fly) of the trousers faces you.
  • Hold the trousers at the water’s surface. Grasp both sides of the waistband and open with both hands.
  • Take a deep breath. Drop 2 feet below the water’s surface, pulling the waistband underwater. Hold the waistband open with both hands and blow air into the trousers.

WSF17

  • To fill the trousers with air, surface while keeping the waistband underwater, breathe in again, drop below the water’s surface, and blow air into the trousers.

WSF18

  • Repeat these steps until the trousers are filled sufficiently. Once trousers are filled, hold the waistband underwater.
  • Twist and pinch it off. Slip the inflated legs over your head.
  • Hold the waistband in toward your chest, the fly facing your body.
  • To prevent air from escaping from the trousers, seal the waistband by either folding it or twisting it. Lie back and relax, resting the back of your neck against the knot.

WSF6

 

  • Splash water on the trousers periodically, to prevent the material from drying. Dry material allows air to escape.

To replenish air in the trousers, use the scooping method and repeat as necessary.


Information contained on this website is for general information and educational purposes only. Please refer to our Disclaimer and Terms and Conditions before attempting any technique described herein.

Life Preservers

henry_freeman

09/24/14
To Do Today:


Staying Afloat With a Life Preserver

The best form of flotation is to find any kind of floating object that will keep you and your equipment out of the water or minimize your exposure to the water. Life preservers are the best method, as they allow you to wear your clothes for heat retention and sunburn
prevention.

There are many types of life preservers: inherently buoyant life preservers and inflatable life preservers.

Inherently Buoyant Life Preservers. Inherently buoyant life preservers are either vest-type (worn like a jacket) or yoke-type (worn around the neck). The preserver’s outer envelope is either a cotton or water resistant material that encloses a removable fibrous glass or plastic foam filling. The most common type of inherently buoyant life preserver is the vest-type with collar, known as the kapock preserver. The kapock consists of collar straps, upper front chest straps, leg straps, and waist drawstrings that secure the preserver to you. The leg straps, which are fitted on both sides of the life preserver, ensure that the preserver remains around your chest while you are in the water. A chest strap is attached to the life preserver to facilitate lifting you out of the water. The strap can also be attached to other survivors or to lifeboats to reduce the fatigue that results from holding onto a floating/secured object by hand.

Inflatable Life Preservers. All US and most international aircraft and sea-going vessels have inflatable life preservers on board. Inflatable preservers are capable of both oral inflation and CO2 cartridge inflation. The preserver consists of buoyancy chambers, CO2 inflator, and an oral inflation tube. Inflatable life preservers must be stored in a cool, dry place. Heat, moisture, and light cause deterioration of the life preserver material. Do not stow CO2 cylinders near steam lines or radiators. Heat can increase the pressure inside the cylinders causing them to explode. Avoid sharp edges in stowage. Sharp edges increase wear and tear on the life preservers and may also puncture inflatable buoyancy chambers.

CAUTION: Do not inflate the life preserver until you are clear of the aircraft, ship, or vehicle.
Torn life preservers will not inflate and inflated life preservers can block you, and those behind
you, from exiting the aircraft, ship, or vehicle.

Review the listed links in To Do for additional description and instructions for common life preservers. Learn to don, properly wear, and/or inflate both types of preservers and familiarize yourself with on-board equipment when on, or over, water.