Swiftwater and Flood First Responder (SFR)

This course is designed to provide students with both a theoretical and practical knowledge of the basics of swiftwater rescue. The class includes one day of classroom instruction and one day of practical field exercises. As well as being prepared to work near water, undertake bank-based rescues and shallow water wading rescues, one of the main roles of a First Responder is to support Swiftwater Rescue Teams at an incident.

A First Responder may be required to evacuate people from properties or vehicles using shallow water wading skills, and will be expected to assist and support in the technical rescue, but will not be expected to undertake technical rescues themselves. This may include providing downstream safety cover or assistance with casualty handling.

Students are trained in hazard recognition, equipment use, and basic boat-based rescue techniques, as well as a wide variety of other skills. After completing this course, personnel will also be able to be in the support role for technician level rescuers in higher risk technical water rescues.

At a scene of major flooding the Technicians may be in short supply and utilised for technical rescues. Therefore it is First Responders who will be used to undertake the majority of evacuations and safety provision.

Content includes

  • Rescuer safety
  • Water and flood dynamics and hazards
  • Personal and team equipment
  • On-scene safety briefing and site control
  • Pre-planning and incident management
  • Medical and personal welfare considerations
  • Considerations for night operations
  • Mud, ice and unstable surface considerations
  • Communications
  • Basic swiftwater swimming and self rescue
  • Bank based rescue options
  • Shallow water techniques
  • Two and four point boat and rope system
  • Inflated fire hose
  • Continuous loop shallow water rope system

Contact hours

16 hours


Minimum age: 18.

Qualification valid for

3 years