Standard Active Last Updated: Jul 07, 2022
ASTM F3048-13(2022)

Standard Guide for Swiftwater/Flood Search and Rescue Operations

Significance and Use

4.1 This guide establishes a framework within which swiftwater/flood SAR operations shall be conducted.

4.2 Every person, agency, and organization that responds to, or participates in, swiftwater/flood SAR operations should operate within the framework established by this guide.

4.3 This guide and the framework it establishes should be used in conjunction with established and authorized guidelines and procedures mandated by an AHJ.

4.4 The AHJ shall determine which personnel, agencies, and/or organizations are qualified and authorized to participate in swiftwater/flood SAR operations.

4.5 This guide is to be used by individuals and AHJ that wish to perform swiftwater/flood SAR operations as part of the NIMS/ICS.

4.6 This guide does not stand alone and must be used with the referenced documents to safely and effectively perform swiftwater/flood SAR operations.

4.7 The AHJ will determine the evaluation process to assess the extent to which the requirements of this standard are met.

4.8 Because operations in the swiftwater/flood environment are inherently dangerous, and individuals involved are frequently required to perform rigorous activities in adverse conditions, regional and national safety standards should be included in agency policies and procedures.

4.9 Swiftwater/flood personnel should only perform activities in the swiftwater environment after a thorough risk assessment and appropriate risk mitigation efforts (for example, use of personal protective equipment (PPE), restricting efforts to shore-based techniques, delaying a recovery until more favorable water conditions exist, etc.) have been performed, or at the very least, should follow the appropriate federal, state, tribal, provincial, and local safety standards as they apply to activities in swiftwater environments.


1.1 This guide establishes a framework within which swiftwater/flood Search and Rescue (SAR) operations shall be conducted as part of the National Incident Management System (NIMS)/Incident Command System (ICS).

1.2 The requirements of this guide shall apply to individuals, agencies, and organizations that respond to swiftwater/flood SAR operations, including those not regulated by government mandates.

1.3 This document does not define the specific training required for personnel involved in swiftwater/flood SAR operations. Refer to local, state, federal, public, and private swiftwater rescue certification and operations courses that satisfy the existing authority having jurisdiction (AHJ) requirements.

1.4 This guide includes references more common to the United States of America, but may be adapted for use elsewhere.

1.5 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety, health, and environmental practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.

1.6 This international standard was developed in accordance with internationally recognized principles on standardization established in the Decision on Principles for the Development of International Standards, Guides and Recommendations issued by the World Trade Organization Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Committee.

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Book of Standards Volume: 13.02
Developed by Subcommittee: F32.02
Pages: 9
DOI: 10.1520/F3048-13R22
ICS Code: 13.200