Young life­savers learn skills

Coastal News - - News -

Young surf life­savers got to ex­pe­ri­ence a week­end of res­cue sce­nar­ios re­cently in an up­skilling pro­gramme de­signed to help them save lives.

The hands-on surf life­sav­ing school fo­cused on rock res­cues, he­li­copter call­outs and beach sce­nar­ios.

And the teenagers’ skills are so in de­mand they have al­ready been put to use in a real res­cue.

Eigh­teen life­guards from Surf Life Sav­ing New Zealand clubs in Bay of Plenty, Coro­man­del and Gis­borne took part in the Ze­spri In­ter­me­di­ate Life­guard School. Lessons were run in the class­room, on the beach, and in the wa­ter at Whanga­mata Surf Life Sav­ing Club last month.

The life­guards al­ready had the ba­sic skills with one — two years of pa­trolling un­der their belts with their lo­cal clubs, but the school teaches higher level skills to tackle some of the more chal­leng­ing real-life sit­u­a­tions where life­guards are called to help, said head in­struc­tor James Lloyd.

“We had a great team of in­struc­tors and men­tors from around the re­gion who helped them build upon res­cue and first aid tech­niques, and talked to them about how things can un­fold when it’s all hap­pen­ing, and made sure they’re pre­pared.”

The sunny week­end brought lots of beach-go­ers out, and many watched the train­ing and chat­ted with the life­guards, as they ran a huge range of prac­ti­cal sce­nar­ios, with train­ing signs up.

Dur­ing the week­end the group learned about first aid treat­ment of spinal in­juries, heart at­tacks and ana­phy­lac­tic re­ac­tion, how to set up a land­ing space for a he­li­copter, tube and board res­cues, and spent a lot of time on res­cues on and off rocks.

“With the en­vi­ron­ments around New Zealand’s coast, we’re of­ten op­er­at­ing in large swells and strong cur­rents and around rocks. There’s lots of Ki­wis that like to walk on the rocks and fish off them,” Lloyd said.

“So we staged lots of res­cues off the rocks and showed our life­guards how to nav­i­gate get­ting pa­tients off the rocks safely in the surf. We first spent a lot of time in the class­room with our in­struc­tors who’ve been around for some time, and made sure the life­guards un­der­stood all the safety aspects and cor­rect tech­niques be­fore head­ing out and putting it into prac­tice.”

And the skills have al­ready been put to use, with one stu­dent us­ing his train­ing to take part in a rock res­cue on Tues­day, Novem­ber 20.

“In­struc­tor Phoebe Hav­ill (One­m­ana SLSC) was able to take stu­dent Cal­lum Ful­ton (Whanga­mata SLSC) with her on the res­cue, which helped bring home how im­por­tant these skills are,” Lloyd said.

Lloyd was im­pressed with all the can­di­dates’ en­thu­si­asm, learn­ing and growth in their skills through the week­end.

“For them to be there, they are al­ready peo­ple who are do­ing a lot to give back to their com­mu­nity and to those around them. But they learned a lot and de­vel­oped skills and lead­er­ship with the team­work they were do­ing to­gether.

“These guys are the next lead­ers for these clubs and I’m look­ing for­ward to see­ing them take the skills they have learnt back to their clubs and lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties.”

The Top Can­di­date was awarded to Lukas Har­ris from Puke­hina Surf Res­cue, while the Best At­ti­tude award went to Sam Cox from Pauanui SLSC. Out of the Men­tors, Ge­or­gia Eldridge from Waihi Beach Life­guard Ser­vice was named as Top Men­tor.

The school is fully spon­sored by Ze­spri, who are the Pri­mary Re­gional Part­ner for Surf Life Sav­ing New Zealand in the Bay of Plenty, Coro­man­del and Gis­borne, which gives a huge boost to the life­guards who at­tended the school and takes the fi­nan­cial pres­sure of those vol­un­teers and the clubs.

“It’s re­ally im­por­tant to have that sup­port from Ze­spri so our life­guards can keep up­skilling and be ready when peo­ple need their help,” Lloyd said. “Without their sup­port we wouldn’t have been able to run the school.”

PHOTO / SUP­PLIED

Lessons were run in the class­room, on the beach, and in the wa­ter at Whanga­mata Surf Life Sav­ing Club last month for young surf life­savers.

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