To Plymouth through the wind and rain to attend this DDRC organised event early this week. Despite the GPS managing to find me a winding single track road with mud scrapes as passing places in the middle of Plymouth, I emerged into the middle of Plymouth Science Park exactly where required!
Three lectures in the morning were followed by three interactive sessions and a tour of the facility in the afternoon. The presentation on the new Sikorsky S-92 Helicopter now operated by most of the SAR teams was illuminating (Lee-On-Solent has a Augusta AW-189 at present) - the quantity and variety of sensors /search equipment carried is immense. The Q&A session highlighted widespread condemnation of black SMBs (not sure who thought they would be a good idea) and that the InfraRed system can now detect you whether or not you remove your hood. We also learnt that the winch speed is 350 feet/minute - almost a zip wire!
The RNLI session was given by Sean Marshall, 2nd Coxswain Plymouth Lifeboat who is also a Dive Boat skipper for Plymouth University. Over lunch, I was glad to be able to share details of the equipment evening we'd had with Selsey Lifeboat with Sean and give him the teaching outline so he could adapt and use for Plymouth.
The morning finished with a presentation by a Diver who had experienced an Immersive Pulmonary Oedema (IPO) - essentially, always feeling breathless underwater but fine on the surface. The medical presentation afterwards highlighted the difficulties of diagnosing this condition and how much there is still to learn about the body and it's reaction to being underwater - there was a lively Q&A session although please don't ask me to repeat some of the explanations.
Quick bit of networking over lunch (one way to diet - minimal food) and then into the afternoon sessions........Basic Life Support / O2 admin and AEDs; as always, useful practice and skills refresher. Tim finished with a suggestion that we look at an interactive LifeSaving video from the UK Resuscitation Council - this has three realistic scenarios and involves you in decision making and actions as each progresses; we'll be referencing this on the React Right courses we run in future.
Then a session on non-DCI issues - symptoms and treatment before the final session on DCI recognition - a succession of real-life based case studies gave us the opportunity to discuss how we would react in a particular scenario and the options / advantages and disadvantages......we learnt how useful photographs are in the case of skin bends (which are unlikely to look the same by the time you reach a Chamber). The afternoon concluded with a tour of the facility and we emerged just in time for the rush-hour home!
A very useful day.........it was very helpful to have discussions around the case studies (put someone on Oxygen or not for instance) and certainly clarified my thinking in several areas and the Mulberry Diver procedures will be updated to reflect these aspects.
And the Answer is Pink?
The SAR Winchman was asked what was the best colour for SMB visibility.........based on his experience of actual rescues, he said Pink! Anya is busy sourcing some from China now :-)