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Water Safety for First Responders


Content Provider:
Ottawa Police Service


Length (in hours)
2 Hours

Release Date
October 2021

Registration Process Register

Canada has vast areas of water and first responders are regularly called to emergencies on rivers, lakes, streams, and oceans. Water-related calls can pose a number of risks and it is important that responders employ proper techniques to ensure their own safety as well as that of others.

Water Safety for First Responders is designed to provide first responders with the necessary skills and knowledge to conduct a safe water rescue. In addition to reviewing the various types of rescue and safety equipment, this course provides information on how to assess a water-related emergency and determine an appropriate plan of action. It also specifically addresses cold water issues and considerations for missing person and suicide investigations.

It is strongly recommended that all front line personnel receive practical water-based safety training.

When you have completed this course you will be able to:

  • Explain why water-related training is vital for front line first responders
  • Recall the factors that affect local drowning rates and the scope of the issue nationally
  • Identify various types of rescue and safety equipment, their uses, and characteristics for front line responders
  • Assess a water-related emergency and determine a plan of action
  • Identify alternatives to entering the water to effect a rescue
  • Explain the Priorities of Life model
  • Identify and understand some of the absolutes in water rescue
  • Explain the stages of the panic cycle
  • Identify different types of drowning victims and their characteristics
  • Identify best practices for rescuing victims given their subject profile
  • Outline proven techniques to deal with cold water immersion
  • Recall the physiological effects of hypothermia
  • Provide treatment for victims who have fallen into cold water
  • Recall the characteristics of a moving/swift water environment
  • Recognize hazards surrounding moving water and ice rescue conditions
  • Explain how to assist in team and self rescue from swift moving water
  • Identify clues that may suggest drowning by suicide
  • Explain the importance of identifying last seen points and last known activities

Target Audience

Sworn Police, Police Services, Government and Other First Responders, Private Security

Content Provider

Content for this course was provided by the Ottawa Police Service.