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Southwold RNLI Training Exercise - Extreme Makeover!

Written by Laura Wharton on

Southwold, Thursday 21st June 2012. It was a damp, Summer Solstice evening, but all involved were geared up and ready for the Southwold RNLI First Aid training exercise on Thursday 21<sup>st</sup> June.  Volunteers Becky and Caroline from Suffolk Secrets were met alongside 4 other volunteers, at the RNLI headquarters by Helmsmen Simon and Alan, in preparation for their extreme make over. The RNLI and Lowestoft Coastguard training exercise involved a re-enactment whereby 6 people had been on a speed boat on the River Blyth, which had subsequently crashed. The 6 volunteer “casualties” were briefed on their role, detailing specific injuries  and symptoms.    Caroline’s fake injury was a broken nose, and RNLI Helmsman Alan set about applying a plastic broken nose and fake blood.  It was then “burn victim” Becky’s turn to have her face applied with charcoal and burns make up.  All six volunteers, with symptoms ranging from hyperthermia, a diabetic having a hypo and an angina casualty, then moved to the soggy banks of The River Blyth; near the Walberswick footbridge, the scene of the re-enactment. Obviously sensing the excitement, a resident Seal popped its head out of the water to see what all the fuss was about! The casualties took their positions and started role playing in anticipation for the RNLI Rib to appear.  Helmsmen Simon, Dirk and Rob and crew from Lowestoft Coastguards then attended to the casualties as if it had been a real emergency call out.  Caroline started acting hysterically, stumbling around and hollering “help.. my nose, my nose” whilst Becky's role-play brief stated to lie motionless in the grass, taking shallow, raspy breaths. Following completion of the training exercise, a debrief and critique was carried out with advice from Mariella, an emergency Triage specialist.  A great evening with a very important purpose was had by all. Thanks also to all of the fellow volunteers and Celia Bartlett from Ailec Photography who kindly offered her professional photography services for free on the evening. 

Laura Wharton

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