EURORSAFIT

The core aim of the European Rescue Swimmer's Association is to support SAR aircrew, working as full-time helicopter rescue swimmers across Europe and around the world. Through sharing operational experiences, training practices and procedures the EURORSA strives to provide it's members with the knowledge, experience and fitness to enable them to up hold our motto to ensure  “Nobody Gets Left Behind”.

EURORSA has launched a project that aims to develop a common physical testing for Helicopter Rescue Swimmers (Winchman/UK, SAR divers/France, etc.). Helicopter SAR operations in Europe are conducted by a wide variety of operators, be them Civilian, Military and Border/Coast Guard who all have their own regulations and standards for Rescue Swimmer physical testing. These regulations and standards vary greatly however when a rescue Swimmer is called to perform in water, the physical demands will ultimately be the same no matter what ocean or sea they are called to perform their duty in. As a result this development of a common standard for Rescue Swimmers physical testing should be seen as strengthening the profession and another tool for SAR helicopter operators to use to ensure their Rescue Swimmers are prepared for the day, or night when their efforts in the pool are ultimately tested.

The fitness test is designed to best simulate the various stresses a swimmer may find themselves in when undertaking a live water rescue. The 600 meter test is to be conducted in a 50m pool consisting of the following evolutions. The clock is not stopped between evolutions:

1.     A continuous 200 meter swim in speedos / swimming trunks. The clock is started and the swimmer enters the water feet first then swims the 200 meters, where on completion they pull themselves from the pool.

2.     Once out of the pool the swimmer puts on fins and mask and then enters the pool feet first to complete a second continuous 200-meter swim where they once again pull themselves from the water on completion.

3.     The swimmer then picks up a 4kg weight and enters the water again feet first, where they then complete a 100m fin / kick rescue stroke with the 4 kg weight. On completion of this 100m the weights are placed on the side of the pull and the swimmer pulls themselves out of the water again.

4.     The swimmer reenters the water a pushes another 4kg weight along the bottom of the pool until the 25 meter mark. At this point the swimmer then sprints the remaining 75 meters back to finish and pulls themselves out of the water. Once the swimmer is clear of the water the clock is stopped.

 The test is broken down into the various sections to focus on specific physical skills that a swimmer may be required to call upon during a rescue situation.

The 200 meter swims with and without fins will identify a swimmers core ability to swim. While the length is longer than what may be required on an operation rescue, the swimmer will experience muscle fatigue over this length and may highlight deficiencies in their endurance training. As a guideline a maximum time of four minutes will apply for the first 200m.

Pulling oneself from the pool, simulates the upper body strength that is required for a swimmer to pull themselves from the water up into a small vessel or life-raft, this is done four times throughout the test and simulates multiple recoveries, with the repetition highlighting fatigue issues that may occur in an operational situation.

The four Kilogram weight tow is designed to simulate the swimmer having to tow a survivor or where they are required to fin kick on their back to maintain a clear highline or winch cable.

The four kilogram weight push along the bottom of the pool is designed to help the swimmer build their lung capacity to help them in situations where they must hold their breath for short periods. Such occasions may occur if a swimmer is forced under water by a panicking survivor or they are swamped by waves in rough swell. (Due to the dangers of shallow water black out, swimmers should not practice underwater breath holds alone. As an absolute minimum a safety swimmer who is not engaging in breath hold exercises should be present at all times directly supervising the training swimmer. Hyperventilating in an attempt to prolong time underwater should also not be undertaken.) 

Ongoing testing will determine an acceptable time frame for the completion of the test. However like all training, a Rescue swimmer should always be looking to better their themselves and previous times to ensure they are ready in the event that their efforts in the pool are ultimately tested on the high seas. 

 

Updates:

1.3.2018 With the dates confirmed for RSM18 in Reykjavik the international Rescue Swimmer's Relay and EURORSA RS PT will be once again fiercely contested. Reports out of Finland seem to indicate that the cold weather known as the "Beast from the East" hasn't slowed the "Boys from the Baltic" with the Finns cutting holes in the Ice so they can keep up their training as they attempt to make it back to back titles in the Rescue Swimmer relay. 

25.2.2017 In an amazing rescue a EURORSA member from the Finnish Border Guard dove 1.5m under water to rescue a man who had fallen through the Ice on a Finish lake. The man was winched aboard the aircraft and the Rescue Swimmer along with is colleges commenced medical treatment as he was rushed to hospital. Thanks to the amazing work of the Rescue Swimmer and his crew (and the ice) the man made a full recovery. https://www.facebook.com/eurorsa/posts/1470104779674983

14.2.2017 EURORSA members from Spain rescue 8 fishermen from a liferaft after their fishing vessel "Busi" caught fire 12nm NW of Cedeira in North West Spain.  https://www.facebook.com/eurorsa/posts/1488941587791302

5.2.2017 EURORSA members from Spain, rescue 12 sailors from lift rafts in winds gusting to almost 60 knots after their vessel sinks in the Bay of Biscay. https://www.facebook.com/eurorsa/photos/a.258562637495876.71415.218603738158433/1449583961727065/?type=3

24.1.2017 A EURORSA member from the Norwegian Air Force Rescues six persons from the sinking fishing vessel "Fish Trans" after in ran into trouble off the Northern Norwegian coast. The Rescue Swimmer recovered the sailors from the cold waters of the Norwegian Sea in the middle of the night in 65 knot winds and 30 ft waves. https://www.facebook.com/eurorsa/posts/1445732185445576

8.6.2016 In addition to the RS PT RSM16 hosted the first International Rescue Swimmer's relay. The 4 x 100m relay was a very hotly contested event with Italian, Finnish, Spanish, Portuguese, Australian/Norwegian, Greek/Cypriot and international teams setting a cracking pace for the eight lap even. The combined Australian / Norwegian team narrowly pipped the Spanish team for third while race favourites, Finland ended the fairy tale for the home town heroes holding off a very determined Italian team to claim the inaugural Rescue Swimmer's relay and bragging rights as the fastest Rescue Swimmer's in the seas. 

8.6.2016 The 600m test was evaluated by 30 swimmers under competition conditions in the Italian navy pool at the 4th Rescue Swimmer's conference in La Spezia Italy. A great level of information was obtained from these test and will form the basis from which a EURORSA standard can be established. Results and recommendations can be be obtained from This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and the official EURORSA RS PT will be unveiled at the next Rescue Swimmer's meeting. 

19.2.2015 Currently evaluating a 600m functional swim test that includes swimming without any additional gear, swimming with fins/mask/snorkle, weight swim (simulating buddy tow) and weight drag under water (simulating the unintentional submersions with increased respiratory rate).  

3.8.2015 EURORSA RS PT 2.0 unfolding as a rescue Swimmer swimming competition In the next Rescue Swimmer Meeeting - RSM16 in Italy, June 2016.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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