Think before you leap - sometimes easier said than done. In some rescues like a heads down pin, time is of the essence. Fortunately, most rescues allow time to work out an appropriate and safe rescue plan. I have found in most incidents, someone needs to take charge and coordinate activities. Coordination saves a great deal of time and effort, it also saves lives.
When an accident occurs, peoples first reaction is shock and disbelief. It takes a moment before reality sinks in and we need to take some sort of action. People behave differently under stress and this is no time for chaos. As a trained rescue person, you (and others) need to a quick assessment of the situation:
- Is the victim stable?
- Are they upright?
- Are multiple people endangered, which need immediate attention?
- Is there danger of the situation getting worse?
- What are our immediate assets (people and equipment)?
Fortunately, most rescues are simple like assisting a boater safely to shore. Entrapments are far more serious and typically need a bit of planning to ensure success. For serious rescue efforts, a rescue organizer should be determined and not necessarily the trip leader. A leader directs efforts, maintains communications, and coordinates multiple activities involved in these types of rescues.