Water rescuer … At first glance, this sounds so unspectacular. You just get someone out of the water, bassd scho. There the term rescue diver is nevertheless already more runnier. One thinks involuntarily of heroism, perhaps even of the navy seals. That there is much more behind the water saver becomes clear when one delves deeper into the material, in the truest sense of the word.
The special service badge for water rescuers is by no means handed to you on a silver platter. As a prerequisite for the acquisition, one must have a CPR training (cardiopulmonary resuscitation), the german rescue swimming badge in silver and a sanitary training as well as be actively involved as a rescue swimmer in the water rescue service. During the training, the trainee learns how to.A. A radio training and learns the knotenkunde. In addition, training as a water rescuer is a prerequisite for training as a rescue diver or boat driver. So much for the theory.
To find out more about the water rescuer, the hochstadt water rescue group is the right contact, as it has 13 water rescuers. Two of these silent heroes, the chairman of the local water rescue group, alexander pauls (34), and the deputy youth leader, jonas dresel (22), answer the following questions.
Hello alex, hello jonas. How exactly do I imagine such a water rescuer actually? Like a diver?
Jonas dresel: the equipment of the water rescuer consists of neoprene suit, buoyancy vest, helmet, cut protection gloves, neoprene foulards, swimming goggles, diving knife, signal whistle, line, flashlight for night operations, as well as the throw bag as the rescue equipment of first choice.
Rescue equipment of first choice?
Dresel: yes, jumping into the water should be the last possibility to save a casualty.
Where do you put the water rescuer?
Alexander pauls: in our catchment area to search for missing persons, z.B. In the aisch or at weirs. But also as a boat crew.
Our catchment area… I know that you have been in lofer many times for white water slalom. How does one come to such a thing?
Pauls: every year the bavarian canoe association organizes the saalachtaler kanutage in lofer (austria) with the german championship in wildwater racing and wildwater canoe slalom. I myself have been there three times. Dresel: I already four times.
How do you train for an operation in white water?? Here with us you can hardly do that.
Pauls: directly on site in lofer. We arrive two days in advance. You train it on an easier spot, which has current, but where you are not in danger if you don’t make it. Then we also train on the competition course under real conditions and then practice as well. Every year new, because every year the situation is different.
How do I imagine such a rescue??
Pauls: each team consists of three people, the holder, the jumper and the runner. If a canoeist falls out of the canoe into white water, he will not be able to get out without help. The holder holds the rope, the jumper jumps into the water (if the possibility of rescue with the throw bag is no longer given) and the runner helps with the rescue to pull the casualty out of the white water into the return water (calmer water) and to pull him out of the water. There are several posts at strategic places.
How high is the risk for your own person, and are you not afraid?? Pauls: you are not afraid if you know that you have good comrades. I had no fear with jonas. You have the possibility to save a life, at that moment you don’t think about it.
Dresel: of course you must not risk your own life. But with a good team …
Doesn’t it still take a lot of effort to jump into the white water like that??
Dresel: you ignore the danger, you only think about saving the casualty.
Do you trust your comrades blindly?
Dresel: mub man.
Pauls: and of course the material. We look to see if everything is whole. You check your equipment and the partner checks your equipment too. Maybe you think the vest is on right, but your partner sees that it is not and corrects that.
What is the most important thing during an operation??
Pauls: on strength and determination. When you jump, you must have the full will to help.
Dresel: you have to be able to assess the situation correctly. You have to be sure that you can do it.
What moves you while you are waiting for a possible mission?? What are you thinking about? Dresel: we do not let the route out of our sight. Pauls: sometimes it is exhausting, because you sweat so much in the neoprene suits with equipment.
Was there ever a dicey situation that you got into?? Pauls: yes, three years ago. It was a practice situation. Close your eyes for a moment, then… The procedure did not work, the rope was too long. It got stuck on a stone and I swung out too far. I landed at a place where the current was too strong, the water force too extreme, so that I could only be pulled out after several minutes by another helper.
What do you feel at such a moment?
Pauls: I felt safe because I was not alone. And I went straight back into the water.
What drives you?
Dresel: to gain more experience.
Pauls: the application of what has been learned, but certainly also that one can then help. I wouldn’t do it if it didn’t serve a purpose. What i find interesting is the violence of the water. It can only be knee-high, but you can’t stand already. That you get respect for the natural power of water. That one already therefore does not do something carelessly.
The way to becoming a water rescuer is not an easy one, you don’t do it from one day to the next. For this reason, we do it with heart and soul. You know what you are getting into. Dresel: in lofer it is just the rescue situation. Otherwise there are only search missions.
Pauls: yes, when you’re on a mission you don’t know what to expect, but in lofer you do.