Last week-end a major exercise took place in Weston Bay involving the lifeboat crews going to the aid of casualties following a simulated fire and explosion in the Yacht Club. There was a fascinating twist in the tale of the activity for all the crew.
Sunday morning is a normal exercise time for the Weston volunteers. This Sunday the Weston Lifeboat Training Coordinator Jennie Williams, organised a special event.
The crew had manned their three lifeboats in Knightstone Harbour when they were tasked to a fire across the bay at the Yacht Club. They sped over there to find the Club shrouded in smoke and screams and cries coming from it. They were informed that the fire was out but because of a high tide the ambulance could not approach the yacht club and the Fire Service could not get past an obstruction left by a farmer. It was up to them.
The crews are highly trained by the RNLI in First Aid. There followed an almost text book casualty handling exercise. One crew member became the scene commander and set up a safe haven for the casualties outside the yacht club. He then sent in two experienced crew to triage the situation. When they entered the yacht club they were presented by a scene of utter devastation. The interior was full of thick smoke and furniture was scattered all around. Amongst this furniture over a dozen casualties lay, some screaming, some crying and some ominously hardly moving. They had to work in the dense smoke to identify the most urgent cases and start treatment. Other crew joined in and all the casualties were then evacuated in turn to the safe haven and then put on the lifeboats to be taken up the river to the boatyard where ambulance facilities were improvised by the shore crew.
This was all done with great professionalism even when the crew discovered that all of the casualties were their wives, girlfriends and children!
Dr Mike Pimm, the Lifeboat Medical Advisor said afterwards;’ I am very pleased with the way the crew handled themselves and those in their care. The RNLI training has been shown to be excellent. Even better, the partners of the crew, who are usually left out of lifeboat activities, saw how professional they are and felt even more involved in what they do.’