“Let’s learn from our mistakes during training so when the real thing comes along we react like a well oiled machine”, Station 20 Station Commandeer, Pieter Coetzee, said on Sunday during a debriefing following a simulated first aid training exercise.
On Sunday the crew were put through their first aid paces under the watchful eye of Barbara McNamara, the First Aid Training Facilitator for the NSRI KZN Region, who came down from Durban to evaluate and assist. She also provided simulations of wounds for the ‘victims’ to make it more realistic.
Her presence and the exercise itself came as a surprise to the crew. It was kept secret to evaluate how they would perform under pressure.
Two incidents were simulated.
The first was a private vehicle accident with a seriously trapped passenger in an unstable vehicle on a rocky slope leading down to the beach. The passenger had simulated head injuries, and a simulated sucking chest wound. A second passenger was flung clear of the vehicle lying on the beach with a closed fracture of the right Femur.
The second incident was a simulated drowning in the tidal pool near the base using an aqua-mannequin.
To add to the pressure the usual first-aiders and most of the base management committee were taken out of the two scenarios and the management of the exercise was left to two of the trainee coxswains on the base, Antoinette le Roux and Willem van Wyk.
Great pains were taken to ensure that public in and around the base at the Sonny Evans Small Craft Harbour at Shelly Beach were informed that it was a training exercise and there was no cause for alarm.
For the first time the new “Sea Rescue Training in Progress” tear-drop flags were used.
Barbara was satisfied with the way the crew performed.
“The exercise went well, but there are some weaknesses that we will correct. That is why we practice. We need to know what we do well, but more importantly, we need to know what we do not do well so we can make adjustments where necessary”, she said.
Station Commander, Pieter Coetzee, was also satisfied.
“I was impressed by the speed the crew got to the drowning site. From the base to the tidal pool including kitting up in wetsuits and booties took them 2min 38 secs” he said.