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#291245 - 12/01/18 10:35 PM Spontaneous Immersion Kit
aligator Offline

Registered: 07/08/06
Posts: 95
Loc: NY
Seems to me, any purposeful endeavor, recreational or work, aught have contingency plans and equipment. Boats have EPIRB, ditch kits, maybe rafts and exposure/survival/immersion suits. Aircraft, give or take similar. Even for skaters/boaters/travelers on lake ice, there is knowledge and equipment recommendations, including immersion management.There is a bunch of information on immersion hypothermia. And yet, vehicle in the water, slip/trip> fall in, duck boat sinking, past "wear your PFD", not a lot of information.

Car in water(accident, black ice, impaired, bridge collapse, flood, flash flood, mud slide, land slide), I drive past one of NYC's reservoirs, to and from work, at least 5 days a week. On a 3 lane parkway, separated from the water, by a guardrail, vehicles traveling 70-80mph., guardrail is not much of an impediment, and occasionally, one goes in. From the shore, out about 5-6', it's 2-3" deep, then precipitously drops to 80'. Most are body recoveries.

My intent, is to put together a system, to deal with spontaneous immersions. Starting with clothes that will sustainably keep me alive if not warm in 35 degree water, 3mm. neoprene gloves, neoprene hood, add a manually inflatable vest, with enough storage/attachments for signaling (mirror, strobe (spare batt), green laser, whistle, flare, smoke, dye, panel, flashlight/head lamp, PLB/immersion proof air and marine band radios (probably not both, depending on where I am, reservoirs no boats, but planes over head, Hudson River, Lake Erie, boats and aircraft). Add HEED-3, ice daggers, BOK/Med, mask/snorkel (mitigate asperation secondary to wave action) and a throw bag. How many people do yous know, know what a throw bag is, much less carry one in their POV, much less are practiced with them? Probably something like zero, so if I don't have one, they likely won't. If I can gather the gumption to throw them the bag (with a light stick attached, easier to see/find at night), all they need to do is pull. Might be the quickest way out. On my end, reinforced loop, figure of 8 follow through, backed up, for me to grab onto, put an elbow through, or (6' continuous loop of 1" tubular webbing, twisted into a figure of 8, slip the arms through, add a locking carabiner, instant chest harness) clip into the chest harness. In the car secured to drivers side visor and duplicated on the vest, is a window punch and a pair of rip shears, for car egress.

EDC: ESEE-4, Wave-2, Emerson N-SAR, Silky 130 Pocket Boy, (2) constrained Bics with T-Rex tape, ferros, about 50' milspec 550, SAK Ranger, PJCB, a good sized piece of fat wood, Elzetta Charley, mini mag light (medical pen light) and a Heat Sheet.

The only thing I want to grab, assuming I'm alone (God forbid otherwise), is a vapor proof bag (tethered bright color/SOLAS tape 360/buoyance) containing warm clothes, Gore, MSR Pocket Rocket/fuel/pot/brew kit/water, better med kit and a Wiggy's 0 rated sleeping bag, foam pads, air activated hot packs and a bivi sack (self Rx. immersion hypothermia management kit). Thoughts?

Nobody that I have found, is talking about this, and from what I've read, BOB's, GHB's, INCH bags don't address this; in a vehicle, did you survive the crash, are you unconscious, are you injured, are you alone in the car, what is necessary to extricate yourself from the car. Nothing attached to you should be buoyant, while your in the car, complicates/prevents getting out, how deep are you, can you hold your breath that long, how are you going to deal with the 1-2 minutes of cold shock, gasping? Ok you got to the surface, or maybe you started there, less the 70 degree water, your on the clock, less then 55 degree water you need to get out ASAP. Most people in these scenarios that die, don't get a chance to die from hypothermia, they die from aspirating water, and drown. The other aspect of cold shock is older folk, or people with heart problems or other co morbidities, can develop lethal heart arrhythmias, and die. But nobodies talking about it, there's no primer, it's all pass/fail and most people that find themselves in this predicament don't even have the advantage of the lady in the water in Capt. Sullys Miracle on the Hudson. Middle aged blond lady, in a short sleeved white top, there amongst the ice islands in her PFD, the expression on her face, totally spaced out, flailing her arms aimlessly, for something to latch onto. Without her PFD, she would have died, even with the PFD, if rescue had not been at hand, she would have died. She never anticipated swimming in the Hudson, most people won't have the PFD, won't be clothed much better, and rescue might be a while comming. Take care.

Regards, Jim

#291251 - 12/02/18 01:49 AM Re: Spontaneous Immersion Kit [Re: aligator]
chaosmagnet Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/03/09
Posts: 3090
Loc: USA
A couple thoughts.

You're probably not going to wear flotation gear, a dry suit, or anything intended for in-the-water cold protection, while you're driving.

While my emergency kit includes a minimal capability to throw a line to someone in the water, you probably don't want to keep a throw bag within arm's reach in the car. I think the utility of a throw bag is very limited. For it to make sense, one would need:

  • To go in the water by accident
  • To be sufficiently uninjured to use a throw bag
  • To be close enough to shore to have a chance to throw it far enough
  • To have a sufficiently good throwing position to throw it a useful distance (meaning, at least one arm free, and preferably standing at least partially above the water)
  • For someone to be there who is able and willing to pull you to shore
  • And for all these things to happen when you can't swim to shore

I'm not saying it can't happen, but I do think it's better to spend my limited funds, weight and especially space on something else.

I keep a Leatherman Raptor, which cuts seatbelts and breaks car windows, in the center console where it can't get out of arm's reach for me in the driver's seat. That was an inexpensive tool to buy and almost unnoticeably small. I suspect it's more likely that I'll use it to help someone else than to help myself.

#291254 - 12/02/18 03:13 AM Re: Spontaneous Immersion Kit [Re: chaosmagnet]
hikermor Online   content
Geezer in Chief

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6819
Loc: southern Cal
When I was at the top of my scuba diving game, a free ascent from 80 feet deep would have been incredibly daunting. Such a maneuver after an accidental immersion would be very dicey indeed - very low odds of success.

+1 to previous comments.

Avoid entering the water in the first place.
Geezer in Chief

#291256 - 12/02/18 03:43 AM Re: Spontaneous Immersion Kit [Re: hikermor]
aligator Offline

Registered: 07/08/06
Posts: 95
Loc: NY
Gents, thanks for the time and reading my missive.
The one thing that all of these incidents have in common, is that they are involuntary.

What about the 80' free ascent is "daunting"? Air, decompression? The plan is if on the bottom, wheels down, sideways or up, to exit the vehicle, probably already breathing off the "spare air", and activate the vest. Problematic from your perspective? If so please elaborate. Never dived, closest I get is mask snorkel and fins. Always interested in a better option, but I cant hold my breath that long, and if the other option is drowning...

Throw bags, Point taken, but this particular bag was chosen for it's size and it throws well. Just too good a opportunity to be unable to exploit. Two regular throw bags in the trunk. As always, no guarantees. Thanks again.

#291257 - 12/02/18 04:24 AM Re: Spontaneous Immersion Kit [Re: aligator]
hikermor Online   content
Geezer in Chief

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6819
Loc: southern Cal
Breathing compressed air at depth (I assume that is the case with your spare air container; Frankly, I am not familiar with the appliance). Be sure and keep an open airway and exhale continuously as the compressed air in your lungs expands; otherwise you are virtually DOA when you arrive topside.

The previous post gives good info on the problems with using a throw bag while in the water. I have used various kinds extensively in swift water rescue and I always had one aboard my kayak when pleasure paddling. They are a great tool when you have a solid stance.

Good for you in thinking about this difficult problem, but I am not sure your proposals are likely to be workable.
Geezer in Chief

#291258 - 12/02/18 04:45 AM Re: Spontaneous Immersion Kit [Re: aligator]
Russ Offline

Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 5074
A car doesnít go straight to 80í, if it did you wouldnít survive the initial impact. Have a tool available to break the window next to you, and get out and up to the surface. Forget the spare air, unless you are wearing it in a survival vest as I wore when flying, youíll probably drown looking for it - time is precious. If the water is very cold, make sure you go into the water where first responders are readily available. Even then it might not help.
Air Florida Flight 90, WA DC, Feb. 1982
Lots of people around who could do very little to help due to ice in the river. Itís preferable to get real wet when the weather is warm.

#291260 - 12/02/18 05:02 AM Re: Spontaneous Immersion Kit [Re: Russ]
aligator Offline

Registered: 07/08/06
Posts: 95
Loc: NY
Gents, Thanks again!

Spare Air (www.spareair.com) designed for divers for out of air emergencies. HEED helicopter emergency egress device. For getting out of submerged aircraft, extrapolated by me to submerged vehicles. Attached to my vest. Rip shears and window punch secured on drivers side visor and vest. Thanks for the tip on exhaling completely on assent. I didn't know that. See ignorance can kill you.

Unworkable? Please elaborate. As above, always looking for better options. Thanks again.

#291261 - 12/02/18 12:10 PM Re: Spontaneous Immersion Kit [Re: aligator]
Russ Offline

Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 5074
Rather than air in a can you may or may not have readily available, this is another area where practice and skill plays a major role.
How I Learned to Hold My Breath for 4 Minutes

#291262 - 12/02/18 02:32 PM Re: Spontaneous Immersion Kit [Re: aligator]
Tjin Online   content

Registered: 04/08/02
Posts: 1753
I would say, invest in a good escape tool and training.

I have trained with the helicopter ditch simulater in a pool and trained in a car mounted on a cradle they could turn around. it gives you new perspective on what is needed.

I have a blanket and towel in the car, but I don't expect to get it out of the trunk if my car is in the water.

Some tips on escape tools:
- Must be able to grab it from your seat
- Must have a proper mount, that stays in place
- Big and brightly colored

For the window part:
- Simple escape hammers with no moving parts; a good one is reliable (super cheap ones might fall apart), but once underwater it's hard to get a good swing.
- Centrepunch based rescue tools have a spring that can fail, but doesn't require a swing. Do put it in the corner and do use it with force.

For the seatbelt with V-cutters, do the following for best results (in my experience anyways):
- Pull the belt tight
- Cut at a 45 degree angle.

#291263 - 12/02/18 02:53 PM Re: Spontaneous Immersion Kit [Re: aligator]
Montanero Online   content

Registered: 10/14/08
Posts: 1473
Loc: North Carolina
As Tjin said, your window breaking tool must be mounted in such a way that it will stay in place during a crash (an in this case possibly turning upside down). You must be able to reach it from your seat, find it in the dark and use it. Laying it in the console or dash means you will lose it in a crash.

In your scenario, you have crashed through a barrier, entered the water, it is cold, you are upside down, maybe injured. You may also be stunned or in shock, you may have others in the car with you. The initial crash has knocked the breath out of you. It is dark and you do not even know which way is up at first. The other people are flailing their arms and legs, if they are conscious, and you can't communicate with them.

That is what you are likely to have to deal with.

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