AMBULANCE SERVICE ALL AT SEA!
In the first such initiative in Scotland which has been actively encouraged by the Scottish Ambulance Service, around 60 Fife based ambulance staff have applied to take part in a joint training session with RNLI Kinghorn lifeboat volunteers.
Scottish Ambulance Service staff predict that once the benefits of the training are identified, other areas of Scotland may follow suit. Kinghorn RNLI Lifeboat covers both the Fife and Lothian's coastline, and the crew hope that Ambulance staff on the Lothian's side of the Forth will also wish to take advantage of the training at a later date. The training will take place over 6 weekends, to enable everyone who has applied to benefit from the course.
RNLI's training officer at Kinghorn, Liz Davidson said, "The benefits to everyone from this type of joint service training are clear, we receive many rescue calls every year which are designated as 'medevacs' (medical evacuation). Each one is different, but all require prompt medical care. Although our volunteer crews are trained in first aid, they are of course, no substitute for the professionalism of the Scottish Ambulance Service Paramedics."
"Most calls received, relate to injuries sustained on vessels at sea, but we also receive calls relating to walkers along the shoreline/coastal walks who have become injured, but are inaccessible to land based emergency crews. Up until now we were unable to take Paramedics along with us, as they were not trained or equipped to go to sea in a lifeboat. This meant that valuable first aid of such a high level, was unavailable to those in need until the lifeboat arrived back on shore. The RNLI proactively seeks to train with other emergency agencies to ensure that casualties receive the best possible care during an emergency response, providing a prompt initial level of medical care along the coastline around the Forth Estuary."
Tom Robertson, Area Service Manager for Scottish Ambulance Service Fife, said, "This type of training has been long overdue, we are not a service which is used to standing by where casualties are concerned. We know the importance of immediate paramedic assistance and now with this joint training initiative with the RNLI, we are placing ourselves back in the forefront of being able to provide initial medical care for casualties on and around the sea, whilst keeping our own staff safe thanks to the professionalism of the volunteers on the RNLI lifeboat at Kinghorn and the high level of training they receive and have passed on to my staff."
Progressive, specialist training prepares RNLI lifeboat crews to operate safely and effectively in some of the most difficult and dangerous conditions at sea. As a charity the RNLI relies on public donations to support its lifesaving service. Training costs an average of £1,000 per year per crew member, which is why the charity has launched its Train One, Save Many campaign to help raise funds to train its volunteer lifeboat crews. For more information please go to www.rnli.org.uk/crewtraining or call 01738 642999.