Saturday, 16 February 2019

Fallen Climber at Durlston

The team was called out on Saturday afternoon to attend to a fallen climber to the West of Anvil Point Lighthouse.  Our colleagues at St Albans Coastguard were also called to provide back-up.

On arrival, the team were met by SW Ambulance paramedics, and once the exact location had been confirmed the team set up its rope rescue equipment.  Within minutes, a paramedic was fitted with a harness and rigged up to one or our rope rescue technicians ready for an 'assisted descent' to the casualty.  Swanage ILB stood by, but the injured casualty had fallen onto rocks some distance above the sea level, and its crew were unable to climb up to him.

As the Coastguard technician and paramedic were about to descend, Rescue Helicopter 175 arrived from Lee on Solent and hovered above, surveying and assessing the scene.

With the helicopter in close proximity, the team stepped back from the cliff edge for safety reasons, and its winchman/paramedic was lowered to the casualty instead.  Once the winchman was safely down, the helicopter landed on the cliff top awaiting further instruction.  Meanwhile the team again stood by to take down an ambulance paramedic to assist.

After some time, the winchman confirmed that the casualty was now in a stretcher and he called the helicopter in to lift them both away from the scene and transport the fallen climber to the helicopter base from where he was transferred by road to hospital.

That done, the lifeboat and ambulances stood down whilst the Coastguard teams waited until the remainder of the climbing party had made its way safely to the top.  Everyone was checked for welfare, and assistance was provided to the climber's buddy to reunite him with his friend in hospital.

The opening few weeks of 2019 have seen the busiest start to a year for a long time with 11 taskings to date, including three this week and rope rescue incidents in January and February.

Thursday, 14 February 2019

First Aid Refresher

Training this week saw the team refreshing its first aid skills.  We never know what our incidents will involve and very often we are first on scene in remote locations with paramedics and ambulances some distance away.

We ran through a number of scenarios  starting with a primary survey which then led into various outcomes - unresponsive casualty, catastrophic bleeding, spinal injuries and so on.

The resuscitation dummies and training defibrillators, that we have access to are really valuable pieces of equipment.

Friday, 8 February 2019

Storm Eric

From the Met Office:

YELLOW WARNING OF WIND for 'London & South East England', 'South West England'
Updated 08 February at 1011 GMT

Valid from 1030 GMT on Fri 08 February to 2000 GMT on Fri 08 February
Strong south-westerly winds may lead to some disruption to travel today.
- Some delays to road, rail, air and ferry transport are likely
- Probably some bus and train services affected, with some journeys taking longer
- Delays for high-sided vehicles on exposed routes and bridges likely
- Some short term loss of power and other services is possible
- It’s likely that some coastal routes, sea fronts and coastal communities affected by spray and/or large waves

Tuesday, 5 February 2019

Ian is our Coastguard of the Year!

The team held its annual Presentation Night at the end of January at the Royal British Legion.

The evening is always a good chance to get the team and their families together over supper and a few drinks to review the year just ended, look at a collection of photographs, reflect on some of the lighter moments and importantly, to make a couple of presentations.

The Spike (Mike) Williamson award is named after a former colleague who we sadly lost in 2004, and who would turn his hand to anything and was always prepared to go the extra mile.   The award is given to the Coastguard who has gone above and beyond the call of duty, not necessarily out on incidents but at the station and behind the scenes as well.

With over 150 incidents in 2018, the Station Officer was minded to award the trophy to the whole team, as everyone had made a special effort and no one could be singled out.  However, the rest of the team had other ideas and contrived to turn the tables on Ian and present the award to him instead in recognition of the long list of things he does behind the scenes - generally looking out for the team, arranging exercise with partner services, team shirts, keeping the station in good order, training, pay forms and admin.....the list goes on.  And that's in addition to leading the team in its second busiest year ever and attending more incidents than anyone else!

So, very well done Ian and thanks for all you do.

All that remained was for Steve, last year's winner, to present Ian with the award.

Sunday, 3 February 2019

Paul Brassington

We were very sad to learn last week of  the passing of an old friend and colleague.

Paul Brassington served in the team from 2002 until 2008 and was a Paramedic with South Western Ambulance in Swanage.

Paul shall be fondly remembered in the team and the community of Swanage, our thoughts are with his family and friends.

Rest in Peace

Monday, 28 January 2019

Team put through its Paces

On Saturday the team headed to Old Harry Rocks to be assessed for their rope competency re-validation.

The equipment was set up to run various scenarios in front of our Senior Coastguard Operations Officers. On the top of the cliff the team had to display the various recovery methods used.

The rope technicians were sent over the cliff and had to show their skills with the stretcher, rescue sling and emergency procedures.

After about 15 “drops” and recoveries the team were signed off to continue to operate and will continue with the year's training and exercise programme.

Sunday, 27 January 2019

Team provide assistance to Injured Cyclist

Whilst the Coastguard are normally associated with incidents on the coast and out to sea, being a category one emergency service we do assist inland too.

The team were made aware of a cyclist who had come off their bike coming down Currendon Hill so proceeded to assist.

Arriving along with colleagues from Ambulance and Police the team provided assistance to the Paramedics.

We wish the cyclist a speedy recovery.

Friday, 18 January 2019

Chapmans Pool

Swanage joined forces with our colleagues from St Albans and Kimmeridge Coastguard today to effect the rescue of a walker who slipped on the Coast Path and broke a leg. 

The casualty was injured in the valley to the West of Chapmans Pool, and although we were able to walk the SW Ambulance paramedics in easily enough, a stretcher carry-out was always going to be difficult, painful for the casualty and not without risk.  On that basis, the Coastguard helicopter attended and airlifted the lady to hospital.

Despite calling on the helicopter, the teams still set up for a cliff rescue; it's always good to have a Plan B, just in case the helicopter can't perform the rescue or gets called away elsewhere. 

Fortunately, all went well and Plan B wasn't required today and we wish the lady a speedy recovery. 

Monday, 14 January 2019

Night Shift

The team's first training session of the New Year saw a full rope set up under floodlights on the land adjacent to our station.

Now you may be thinking "but there are no cliffs there!", and you'd be right.  However this gives us the chance to do a dry run - a full set up - but without having to worry about being close to the cliff edge. Neither do we need to venture far from base, and so we can use maximum time for training rather than travelling.

Before we started, we sent out an advance party to 'mine sweep' the area; dogs are frequently allowed on this grassy area at the edge of the car park, and quite why anyone can't be bothered to pick up after them is beyond me.  The last thing we want to do is to contaminate our ropes and equipment and risk having to write it off, not to mention the health risks to the volunteers on the team.  Six targets were successfully identified and removed before the area was given the all clear.

We practised a number of methods of hauling the casualty back up the cliff - both mechanical in the form of a petrol winch and manual in the form of 3:1 and 5:1 gearing systems which are created by the use of a rope fed backwards and forwards through pulleys a few times.  Reminds me of my 'O' Level Physics - I knew there was a reason we did that!
Who remembers this from school then....?

Everybody took turns at operating the line controllers which we use to feed out the main and safety lines when lowering the cliff technician over the edge, and when we were finally all done we walked back to the station for tea and a warm up.

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

Slip watch 2019

The team are aware of a recent slip in the northern end of the bay.

The area will be monitored for further movement along with areas up towards Sheps Hollow.

In an emergency please dial 999 and ask for Coastguard