Exercise sharpens rescuers’ skills

A 'casualty' is stretchered away in the joint exercise. Picture by John Tuttiett
A 'casualty' is stretchered away in the joint exercise. Picture by John Tuttiett
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Coastguards and RNLI lifeguards have been training together to sharpen their skills.

Newbiggin coastguard rescue teams and coastguards from Blyth joined the RNLI lifeguards from North Tyneside beaches in a simulated exercise where a small boat with four people on board sunk, leading to two serious casualties.

One of the casualties had a spinal injury and the other an open fracture to their leg.

The other two managed to get themselves to shore but were suffering from mild hypothermia.

The teams had to split up and give emergency first aid to all four casualties, prioritising their needs.

This included administering oxygen, dressing wounds and immobilisation of the casualties before placing them on stretchers for evacuation to an ambulance and a helicopter.

Coastguard senior operations officer Adam Turner said: “It is vital that we train with our colleagues from the other emergency services, in this incident, the RNLI Beach Lifeguards, as they are often the first rescue personnel on scene. We need to have a co-ordinated approach to ensure that all casualties receive the best possible treatment following their accident.”

RNLI beach lifeguard manager Carl Harris said: “This exercise demonstrated the way that we can work together and I am confident that all involved learned a great deal from it.

“Fortunately, incidents involving multiple casualties do not happen very often, but we have to be prepared to act quickly and efficiently if they do.”

Coastguards along the North East coast are still looking for new recruits to bolster their numbers and anyone interested in joining should contact their local team or email area5@mcga.gov.uk