This morning, I participated in yet another round of casualty scenarios with a few other members of my team. This time around, I got to play a man having a stroke and assist keeping a girl in epileptic shock stable until help arrived. I’m slowly growing more confident in my ability to identify what is wrong with pretend patients and then follow protocol for helping them and keeping them safe. I love how this stuff is just getting drilled into our brains each day.
One of the best parts of these trainings is that they take place outside. Right now, Europe is bracing for a heatwave, but things here in Wales are sunny, blue skies, and maybe 75 degrees with a nice wind off of the Bristol Channel. I’m loving this UK summer! That being said, when the afternoon rolled around and it was time to have another session out on the sea, the winds were too rough, so we didn’t launch the boats. However, the instructors were keen on getting us used to rough seas, so they had us swim off of the slipway into the open water and then circle up as a group and all float together with the current. I thought it was kind of fun, but the initial impact of getting smacked with frigid Welsh waves is really jarring. Even with a wetsuit on, this water is cold!
Being one of only two Americans in this group, once in a while I’ll miss something one of the instructors or other participants is saying because of their accents mixed with the volume of the sea or some other natural noise occurrence. I missed the instruction to swim out to sea, so I was caught off guard as everyone started jumping into the waves. That being said, even with a slow start, I still kept up with most of the group. This is a bit of a goal of mine as well. Whether it’s in the sea or on the land doing casualty care, I just want to make sure I remain with the majority for my time here. I refuse to fall behind or become one of the people running in the back of the pack.
After our dip in the sea, we took a lifeboat into the outdoor pool on campus and practiced capsizing drills. What would happen if your boat flipped and you were suddenly bobbing alone in the sea? Once again, we were split into groups of three but my group only had two. We were the leftovers again. I’m starting to find this comical. Unfortunately, my partner was very nervous about this particular scenario, so, as we fell off of the boat and had to fight to climb onto it’s flipped hull, her nerves were getting the best of her. I helped pull her up and then, together, we flipped our boat back over by falling backward into the pool while using a rope to yank the boat back over with our momentum. It was a bit unnerving given the heightened emotions in the water, but we got through it. None of these exercises are easy.
This evening, we had a lecture about the history of Atlantic Pacific and where it hopes to go in the future as an organization, including some plans it has in place. Fascinating stuff, and an wonderful to hear about how this organization came into being and where it plans to go. I’m honored to have been selected to be a part of it.
Earlier today, we also had a talk about Sea Watch, an NGO that operates in the Mediterranean doing search and rescue missions with planes and ships. That is a whole different, sad tale though.
Still not getting enough sleep each day. Grateful for coffee at this point.
Fun fact: Atlantic Pacific initially set out with the goal of saving one life. There slogan was, “worth it for one”, meaning that if all of their trainings and efforts resulted in one life saved, it’d be worth it. To date, five years on, their estimates are that their trained crew have saved thousands of lives.