grounded at all times. When other considerations permit, you should use a rope line instead of the steel-wire life-line when entering compartments that may contain explosive vapors.
You should never attempt to swim to the rescue of a drowning person unless you have been trained in lifesaving methodsand then only if there is no better way of reaching the victim. A drowning person may panic and fight against you so violently that you will be unable either to carry out the rescue or to save yourself. Even if you are not a trained lifesaver, however, you can help a drowning person by holding out a pole, oar, branch, or stick for the victim to catch hold of or by throwing a life-line or some buoyant object that will support the victim in the water.
Various methods are used aboard ship to pick up survivors from the water. The methods used in any particular instance will depend upon weather conditions, the type of equipment available aboard the rescue vessel, the number of people available for rescue operations, the physical condition of the people requiring rescue, and other factors. In many cases it has been found that the best way to rescue a person from the water is to send out a properly trained and properly equipped swimmer with a life-line.
It is frequently difficult to get survivors up to the deck of the rescuing vessel, even after they have been brought alongside the vessel. Cargo nets are often used, but many survivors are unable to climb them without assistance. Persons equipped with life-lines (and, if necessary, dressed in antiexposure suits) can be sent over the side to help survivors up the nets. If survivors are covered with oil, it may take the combined efforts of four or five people to get one survivor up the net.
A seriously injured person should never, except in an extreme emergency, be hauled out of the water by means of a rope or life-line. Special methods must be devised to provide proper support, to keep the victim in a horizontal position, and to provide protection from any kind of jerking, bending, or twisting motion. The Stokes stretcher (described later in this chapter) can often be used to rescue an injured survivor. The stretcher is lowered into the water, and the survivor is floated into position over it. People on the deck of the ship can then bring the stretcher up by means of handlines. Life preservers, balsa wood, unicellular material, or other flotation gear can be used if necessary to keep the stretcher afloat.
In an emergency, there are many ways to move a victim to safety, ranging from one-person carries to stretchers and spineboards. The vicitims conditions and the immediacy of danger will dictate the appropriate methods, but remember to give all necessary first aid BEFORE moving the victim.
The military uses a number of standard stretchers. The following discussion will familiarize you with the most common types. When using a stretcher, you should consider a few general rules:
1. Use standard stretchers when available, but be ready to improvise safe alternatives.
2. When possible, bring the stretcher to the casualty.
3. Always fasten the victim securely to the stretcher.
4. Always move the victim FEET FIRST so the rear bearer can watch for signs of breathing difficulty.
Figure 4-77.Stokes stretcher.
STOKES STRETCHER. The Navy service litter most commonly need for transporting sick or injured persons is called the stokes stretcher. As shown in figure 4-77, the Stokes stretcher is essentially a wire basket supported by iron rods,