Brynn Gericke, a volunteer at Richards Bay, visited the RNLI and was invited to join the New Brighton crew on a training evening. This is her story:
On Sunday the 6th July I visited the Blackpool station. There was no crew available but I did manage to spend some money in their gift shop which is really amazing … and to see their equipment through the windows.
During this week I contacted Graham Sale from New Brighton RNLI station to inquire about visiting their station the following weekend. He told me that they would be meeting at the station on the Thursday evening for training and that I would be most welcome should I be able to get there.
I managed to organise a lift through with a colleague to the station after work – the station is approximately one hour from where I was staying so would have to catch some trains, a bus and taxi to return.
The crew were very accommodating and made sure that I got the most out of my short stay. They did two training scenarios in my presence:
The first one was at the station and they had to prepare for a planned callout – first in daylight then with all the lights out.
The crew reacted quickly and in ‘organised chaos’ as we all do initially. The lesson to be taught was that safety always comes first. Rather take those few seconds longer and do the task correctly and consistently as well as constant communication between all the crew so that we are all not trying to perform the same task and thereby wasting time.
For the second task I was invited to kit up and join the crew on their B Class Lifeboat Atlantic 85 which is 8.44m in length. One type of call outs that the crew have to deal with are intoxicated or even violent casualties. The senior crew demonstrated to the trainees how to approach and overpower such a casualty in a professional manner without endangering themselves or their fellow crew members.
I was given the opportunity to helm the boat which is always a great experience and one not to be missed as the boats are so vastly different from ours.
NSRI volunteers who wish to visit a RNLI station should contact Krista Lazzari at NSRI head office who will try and facilitate a visit to a station and please not just arrive unannounced.