Over The Bow Volume 76 Issue 1 Winter 2018 - Page 51

Aircrews wear inflatable PFDs and the facility carries either individual or multi-person life rafts on board. An EPIRB or PLB is mandatory. Minimum safety equipment carried by all aircrew include whistle, signal mirror, rescue knife, strobe light. Additional safety equipment is available in the raft. (Policy Manual M16798.3E, Annex A, Section D). Aircrews are trained in egress procedures and must successfully complete a swim test every year.

Once we have identified the target, we would notify a Coast Guard or Auxiliary surface vessel of the Lat/Long location. We would then circle the target centering it on the left or right wing, which assists the surface vessels with a direct visual route. We would also guide the responding vessel via marine radio.

As Public Education is one of the missions of the Auxiliary, it is important to stress the use of PFDs to the public. Auxiliarists who are on the front lines of Public Education (Vessel Examiners, Program Visitors, Instructors, et al.) can never put too much emphasis on the importance of safety equipment. Remember, mostly all Coast Guard statics on water survival and rescue are based on the individual wearing a PFD.

Tip: I learned this in flight school many years ago. Here is a great piece of emergency equipment that most people have but don’t know it.

No, it’s not to buy a PFD or make a phone call. It’s the hologram that is on most credit cards.

A hologram is ultra-reflective and can be used as an emergency signal mirror to reflect the sunlight. Don’t believe it? Try shining a flashlight on the hologram and watch the reflection. It could save your life!