It’s incredibly helpful if we know our rescue options and the perspective we want bring to rescue environments before we’re confronted with a water rescue situation.

Many rescuers are familiar with the “mantra” of Talk-Reach- Throw-Row- Go/Tow-Helo for water rescue. Unfortunately, this list of rescue techniques is usually interpreted as a rigid rescue hierarchy, or “order of priority” for attempting a rescue.

Many rescuers believe this list of techniques is set in stone, where the first technique must be considered before the next one is tried. This is far beyond the original intentions of the creators.

Rather, the variety of rescue techniques should be considered as a “tactical toolbox” of rescue options. Team members with the necessary skills and judgment will quickly choose the appropriate method for the situations they face, and not spend valuable time debating the others.

Rescue3 Earth Experience curriculum starts with the simplest rescue techniques and then goes on to cover more complex methods. As techniques become more complex, they require more training, equipment and experience to implement. These techniques can be divided into two categories depending on the amount of assistance required from the victim.

Conditional Rescue

Conditional rescue relies upon the victim doing something to assist. For example, throwing a rope to the victim would require the victim to have the presence of mind and physical capability to hold onto the rope and grip it tightly until they are safe.

True Rescue

True rescue requires no assistance from the victim and is used when the victim is incapable of helping himself. The rescuer must do everything, and so must be correctly equipped and trained to perform the rescue. Clearly, the risk to the rescuer is higher, as he or she must go into the hot zone. However, the benefit to unconscious or injured victims is obvious.

In our latest downloadable Guide, Breaking Down Rescue Options, we dissect down the talk, reach, throw, row, go/tow, helo mantra and explain the philosophy behind the tactics and how to best use them in an emergency rescue situation.