Swiftwater and Flood First Responder (SFR)

As well as being prepared to work around the water and undertake bank based and shallow water wading rescues, one of the main roles of a First Responder is to support the teams of Swiftwater Rescue Technicians at an incident. To enable this, a responder will have the ability to self rescue, skills in shallow water working, basic boat handling and basic rope work.

A First Responder will be expected to help and support in technical rescue, but will not be expected to perform them. This may include providing downstream safety cover or assistance with casualty handling. Flooding operations may include evacuation of people from properties using shallow water working skills. 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.

Contact hours

12 hours (2 days)



  • Must be a confident swimmer
  • Minimum age: 18


Course standard

Rescue 3 Europe SFR standard (PDF)

The course standards are provided as pre- and post-course reference for people involved in the delivery of Rescue 3 courses (eg Rescue 3 training providers, instructors and students). They are not to be used for any other purpose without the express written permission of Rescue 3 Europe.

Learning outcomes and key teaching points for instructors

Rescue 3 Europe SFR learning outcomes and key teaching points for instructors (PDF)


Defra level:

Module 2 - Water First Responder - To work safely near and in water using land-based and wading techniques.

View all Rescue 3 Europe Defra module courses



Qualification valid for:

3 years


 Taught by:

Student manual PDF download:

SFR manual - German (de)

SFR manual - English (en) 

SFR manual - Spanish (es)

SFR manual - French (fr) 

 SFR manual - Greek(gr) 

SFR manual - Italian (it)

SFR manual - Dutch (nl)



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