Thursday, 17 December 2009


The exercise was a cold one last night but this did not prevent us from being very productive. We had a couple of observers along for the trip, one whom we already knew from last month. Pretty frequently we are asked to take people out to sea with us in order to help them become acquainted with what lifeboat crews do in real life. Often they are new staff who have joined the institution and are working in an area where they are required to either talk with authority about what we do, or need to be able to empathise with the job that we do and the conditions that we work in. In Geraldine's case it's undoubtedly a bit of both.

Unfortunately on this occasion I had little chance to chat with Geraldine and John because no sooner had we launched and got started on our exercise than we sighted a flare and went to investigate, (don't worry Gloria...all part of the exercise)!

Coming alongside what appeared to be another lifeboat it quickly became apparent that they had had some sort of dramatic incident and required urgent assistance. I went aboard initially to assess how many casualties there were. As is often the case in these scenarios, there was a man overboard (immediately ties up one boat searching and limits options for casualty evacuation). There was also a seriously injured man who had fallen through a hatch (although it was difficult to access him initially and make a full assessment, the mechanism of injury led me to expect a spinal injury, possibly a break and likely internal injuries). There was the usual 'red-herring' of someone panicking with sea-sickness and a quiet one who appeared shocked. Plenty to keep us busy!

I made the decision to act as the comms person and requested as many first aiders as were available to come and deal with the casualties. Very soon Kev, John, Daz and Nick were onboard and completing their full assessments on the casualties. Not surprisingly the fellow who had fallen began to deteriorate with increasing 'Capillary refill' and reducing breathing rate. Quite rightly Kev and John assessed him as having an internal bleed and flagged him up a priority 1 for immediate evacuation.

In a very short space of time the man-overboard had been found, all casualties dealt with and the stricken vessel taken in tow back to the station. After a quick de-brief and not so quick crew-meeting it was time for a pint in the Red Lion then home to bed.

All good.

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