We love this guy. Dr Gordon Giesbrecht. Professor at the university of Manitoba. He studies human physiology and our responses to extreme environments. He has done some groundbreaking work in cold-stress physiology and prehospital care in hypothermia. He is one the leading authorities on cold water immersion after having conducted hundreds of studies. He also formulated the 1-10-1 rule.
The 1-10-1 rule
Dr Gordon Giesbrecht’s 1-10-1 rule describes the three phases of immersion in cold water. It is based on his studies of hundreds of volunteers including himself. The 1-10-1 stands for the approximate time each phase lasts in ice water .
1 – The Cold Shock response is the first thing that happens after cold water immersion. An initial involuntary deep gasp followed by massive hyperventilation that can be up to a 1000% greater than normal breathing. If the airway is below the waterline at this time, the subject risks drowning. It will last for about one minute.
10 – Cold incapacitation. The victim loses effective use of his fingers, arms and legs. It happens during ten critical minutes. This is where swim failure occurs. If the victim isn’t wearing a lifejacket he will drown.
1 – Hypothermia. If a patients survives the cold shock response and somehow is able to stay afloat with the help of a life jacket, in a lifeboat or reaches dry land then hypothermia is next. In a worst case scenario the victim could succumb to hypothermia within one hour.
Found this graph on the homepage of Dr. Giesbrechts Cold Water Boot Camp. Apparently canadians fall through the ice all the time in spring-time, so they have organised training camps to deal with it.
The above graph shows aproximate times to fatal hypothermia plotted against water temperature. It also shows why it sometimes pays to be fat.
Here is why they call him Dr. Popsicle. It is also why I think he is brilliant. He walks, skis, snowmobiles and what have you into icy cold water to demonstrate various survival techniques. Jackass.
Below he demonstrates the 1-10-1 rule.
By the way. Some fellow bloggers do amazing podcasted interviews. Wouldn’t this guy be cool to have on?
Also, be sure to visit the Cold Water Boot Camp to download videos to use for teaching and understanding surviving cold water immersion.