Friday, February 12, 2010

Safety First

Just had a cracking weekend with the crew from Extreme Care, the guys I do Water Safety & Rescue and First Aid work with. With the 2010 event season starting soon with probably our most intense event of the year, the National Student Rodeo, we were keen to get everybody up to date on the latest doctrine in First Aid. Dave was updating his assessors’ qualification as well, so he put on a 3-day First Aid at Work course for us, with both him and us being assessed. Of course, with us working as a rescue team, that means the 'at work' part is generally a riverbank and the level of First Aid we might have to do is a wee bit higher than the normal office based scenarios. So, out with the sticking plasters and ‘there there’ commentary, and in with the drowning victims, C-spine immobilisation and head injuries. Excellent...
We ran the course over two weekends, with plenty of time in between for revision. Well, sort of. Okay, I might have glanced at my notes once in a week. But anyway. The first weekend of the course was a pretty intense two days covering all the major stuff, bleeds, breaks, bandages, resuscitation and all the blood and gore you can handle. But of course it can't be all work and no play, so on the second Saturday we had a day off and hauled it up to Sleningford for a paddle down the Ure.

We headed to the get-in above Hack Falls, and ran from there down to Sleningford Mill itself (mapped below), stopping to play on the weirs at Mickley and Sleningford as well - something I'm not keen on doing normally but I need all the technique practice I can get. The water level was good, no really scrapey stuff, and a fine, if a little cold, day. The section itself isn't a hard one - mainly G2 with a couple of 3/3+ sections - but that's the kind of river I need at the moment. As I've said previously, my confidence in boating isn't great at the moment, but running easier stuff, working on technique, and just learning to enjoy boating again is where I want to be. Scaring the hell out of myself on G4/4+, frankly, can wait a while...

So, after a fun day’s grace, some dinner and maybe a glass of wine or two, we were back to the grindstone on Sunday morning, and into the individual assessments for the FAW course, a multi-choice paper and two one-to-one practical assessments, one on resuscitation and one on trauma. Dave's teaching had been excellent, a good balance of classroom theory and discussion with practical examples and a fun-if-slightly-nerve-wracking set of outdoor scenarios. Every tried treating a concussed Gibrobian rafter who doesn't speak English? Neither have I, because I was playing one. Still, the assessments were to be a surprise, and while we didn’t think they’ve be anything too heinous, you never know what you’ll find when you walk in the door. Could be a straightforward cut or break, maybe with a side order of shock, or it could be a drunkard epileptic with a concussion and three broken legs.

Thankfully, we all passed with flying colours, so we’re ready for the mass “fish ‘em out and ship ‘em out” that is the Rodeo. Good news for all the little swimmers. Bad news for me for the weekend was that my car radiator has given up the ghost and sprung a leak... Joys.

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