Making Southsea safer: RNLI lifeguards & lifeboat train together
On Wednesday 25 July RNLI lifeguards at Southsea beach hosted neighbouring Portsmouth lifeboat station for an evening of joint training exercises and demonstrations.
This annual drill which takes place near the start of each season allows the rescue services to combine their skill sets to be best prepared, should an emergency require them to operate together.
Lifeguard Supervisor Kester Sheppard said: ‘Having a working understanding of our lifeboat and lifeguard equipment and capabilities means we can offer the best care to anyone who finds themselves in trouble in the water. For example, if the lifeboat were to rescue someone from the water they could hand the casualty over at any one of our Lifeguard Units so the casualty could receive treatment as soon as possible.’
The red and yellow clad lifeguards explained the technology behind their rescue boards and tubes before tasking the lifeboat crew to locate relevant equipment from their first aid bag.
It was then over to the lifeboat crew to familiarise the lifeguards with their Atlantic 85 and D Class lifeboats and demonstrate how to pick up and bring a casualty on board safely and efficiently while at sea.
After wading into the water to enact these casualty pick-ups, the teams ran a scenario of someone in the water with a spinal injury. Kester Sheppard explained: ‘It takes up to 5 people to lift a casualty safely if they're suffering from a spinal injury.’
Senior Lifeguard Kim Dugan, who splits her dedication to the RNLI between guarding the beaches and volunteering as a member of the lifeboat crew, said: ‘I am thankful to have such a good relationship with the team of lifeguards and the local lifeboat station; our motivations are equally to save lives at sea and educate people around water safety. However, our methods are sometimes different, so training sessions like this are invaluable. We have learnt a lot from each other this evening.’
Key facts about the RNLI
The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and, in a normal year, more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.