When RNLI lifeguards Oli Kent and Tim Lomas attended casualty care refresher training yesterday morning (Wednesday 8 August), they couldn’t have known that their skills would be called upon that afternoon.
Oli and Tim were on patrol at West Bay, when at 4.15pm they were alerted by a member of the public to a casualty at the main entrance to the beach. 14-year-old Ben had gone straight over the handlebars of his bicycle when the spade he was carrying jammed in his spokes. He had landed face-first on the concrete and been knocked unconscious.
Oli headed to the casualty immediately, and was soon joined by Tim with the unit’s trauma bag and spine board. They checked the now-conscious teen’s condition carefully, advising concerned members of the public to wait for their assessment before moving him in any way. After reassuring Ben, who was feeling dizzy and quite shaken, they fitted him with a collar and rolled him onto the spine board as a precaution.
With the assistance of a local café-owner during the move, the lifeguards coordinated the transfer and continued to monitor Ben until the arrival of the ambulance services. He underwent further assessment by paramedics and was then taken to hospital.
Tim Lomas, who is in his third season as an RNLI lifeguard, has just been transferred to assist at Thanet from his latest post at Ceredigion in Wales. He said: ‘We have had quite a lot of major incidents in Wales including CPR and a spinal injury a couple of weeks ago, so it’s not as daunting for us as it probably is for a member of the public. No matter what beach you’re on, the training from the RNLI just automatically kicks in.’
Despite only arriving in Thanet on Monday (6 August), Tim was unphased by being called into action so quickly: ‘That’s the great thing about the RNLI – even though I’ve just arrived and am working with new people, we’ve come together as a seamless team.’
RNLI Lifeguard Supervisor Rob Sheard, who attended the beach after the incident, said: ‘The casualty care training covers everything from weaver fish stings and burns to fractures and spinal injuries. This ensures our lifeguards are trained and equipped to deal with incidents in a calm and professional manner, which Oli and Tim demonstrated at West Bay today. We wish the casualty and his family well.’
Today Sandra Bowner, grandmother of the casualty, returned to the beach lifeguard unit at West Bay to pass on her thanks to the lifeguards.
Notes to Editors
- Full time lifeguard cover began on Saturday 14 July on the following beaches: Botany Bay, Broadstairs / Viking, Joss Bay, Margate Bay, Minnis Bay, Ramsgate, Stone Bay, St Mildreds, West Bay and Westbrook Bay.
- RNLI lifeguard patrols run daily from 10am to 6pm.
- RNLI lifeguards in Thanet are declared co-responders to the South East Coast Ambulance service. See here for more information.
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