Situational awareness: Water survival guidance for people in moving water

Control Measure Knowledge

This control measure should be read in conjunction with:

There are several factors which may affect the advice given to callers by fire control personnel, these include:

  • Location of people in the water in relation to:
    • High or solid ground
    • Shallow or slow flowing water
  • Whether people are static or are being swept away with the current
  • Have people become entrapped or entangled by obstructions
  • Any hazards such as weirs and obstructions involved or further downstream
  • Direction of the water flow

Gaining the direction of the water flow may allow fire control personnel to use any mapping systems to gather information on potential upcoming hazards downstream.

No area in the water should be considered a safe place; however, there are areas in moving water where people may be able to remain static until they are rescued. This may include areas of:

  • High ground, such as rocks
  • Slow flowing or shallow water

Eddies may provide an area of both slow and shallow water where people are able to remain until they are rescued. Eddies are formed where flowing water passes static or slow-moving water causing the area of static water to rotate in the opposite direction to the main flow. This recirculated water, or eddy, is slower than the main flow. The reduction in speed causes debris to be deposited, reducing water depth around eddies.

Moving water conditions can change quickly and without notice. Conditions should be reassessed regularly to ensure the advice to remain in place is still relevant; advice should be amended where necessary.

Strategic Actions

Tactical Actions