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Lough Derg RNLI crew Chris Parker becomes a Trauma Risk Management practitioner

Lifeboats News Release

A volunteer crew member at Lough Derg RNLI has become a RNLI Trauma Risk Management practitioner.

Chris in RNLI gear smiling into the camera

RNLI/Eleanor Hooker

Chris Parker, volunteer crew member, Lough Derg RNLI

The RNLI, mindful of the potential psychological effects of attending traumatic or distressing call outs, initiated a Trauma Risk Management Programme (TRiM) in 2016. The programme evolved from a Stress Trauma Project in the UK Royal Marines and aims to provide support and assistance for volunteers who wish to access it. The programme is completely voluntary and confidential.

Currently there are 60 TRiM practitioners within the RNLI, one of whom is Lough Derg RNLI crew member, Chris Parker. Chris graduated as a practitioner in April. Of his qualification Chris said: ‘I am proud to be able to help fellow volunteers. Sometimes, we run towards the bad stuff, and it can take its toll. As a crew member, I want to be there for the members of the public when they are in difficulty, but as a practitioner, I want to be there for my fellow volunteer crew members in the RNLI who may be having their worst day too’.

At the heart of research and development within the RNLI is the safety and wellbeing of the volunteers who crew the lifeboats. With donations and legacies from the public, the charity provides the latest and safest kit so that crew operating in the toughest conditions, have every confidence in the equipment they are using.

As a frontline volunteer emergency service, crew encounter scenarios and casualty injuries they may never confront in their day jobs. The RNLI Casualty Care courses teach crew how to manage emergencies on the water, and how to minimise further injury before casualties are transferred to the care of paramedics on shore. And whilst their training and proficiency allows crew to manage each scenario, volunteers respond differently to the reality of what they’ve encountered.

RNLI volunteers hail from a wide variety of backgrounds and careers. Chris has a most poetic sounding job as a Cloud architect, which sees him work on major computer incidents throughout Europe: ‘If a large company stops working or a cyber attack takes place, chances are I will get a phone call or an email.’

Chris joined the lifeboat crew two and a half years ago, shortly after moving to the area with his family. Now a qualified lifeboat crew member, Chris is also Lough Derg RNLI’s Health, Safety and Environmental Local Liaison.

In most instances following traumatic events, crew will resolve any negative feelings over time, but, Chris says, ‘TRiM is there to support our staff and volunteers from an early stage, to offer peer support. To those that require professional help, the TRiM practitioners have the knowledge and training to signpost those services and support’.

All training for frontline staff or volunteers is provided by the RNLI through its partner March on Stress. Chris says that to retain practitioner status, he must meet professional standards through continuous training. He says the initial two-day intensive course covered active listening skills, mentoring, education and risk assessment.

The RNLI, as an organisation devoted to saving lives at sea, is inherently aware of how traumatic rescue operations can affect volunteer crew. Through the introduction of TRiM, the RNLI provides a vital and coordinated support structure to ensure the wellbeing of its volunteers.


Notes to editors

RNLI media contacts

For more information please telephone Eleanor Hooker, Lough Derg RNLI volunteer helm and Lifeboat Press Officer on 0877535207 or [email protected] or Nuala McAloon, Regional Media Officer on 0876483547 [email protected] or Niamh Stephenson, Regional Media Manager on 0871254124 or [email protected]

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Key facts about the RNLI

The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around Ireland and the UK. The RNLI operates 46 lifeboat stations in Ireland. The RNLI is independent of government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, the charity has saved over 142,700 lives.

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 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and 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.

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For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.