In case of an emergency
Planning for an Emergency
Think about the kind of emergencies you may have and how you and the group will deal with them. This section is meant to give an overview of the issues, but a thorough understanding of what to do in the event of an emergency is important.
A board breaks, a slip and a head bump on a rock or a paddler gets tired.
Consider if you are the person who has had the accident, does another member of the group know what to do including the route, the equipment you have and how to use it.
Tell someone on land your plans and expected return time, agree a late time by which they will report you as missing.
What equipment to carry?
· Small first aid kit
· An emergency bag or shelter. I use my 2 man mountain shelter it is light and great to get out even for warming up while you are having your picnic. In winter I take a shelter for the whole group.
· Carry a mobile phone (waterproofed in some way), and other means of signal such as a whistle and torch. Consider inland flares, a marine radio or personal distress beacon. Note electronics are not always reliable on the sea.
Typical actions in the event of an accident
· Ensure the rest of the group is safe.
· Assess the situation
· Take action to stop the situation getting worse
· Can you self rescue?
· Signal / call for help
· Report the incident to the appropriate organisation
Signal / Call for help
In Cornwall and around the coast generally, the mobile phone coverage is patchy at best, do not rely on this as your only means of signalling for help.
Pre-register your phone with the 112 service. Video: explaining the advantages of 112 (https://youtu.be/XPZv_8dABfU) including the ability to text the emergency services and use any available network.
Be prepared for what you will be asked:-
· How many in your group?
· The nature of the incident
· Imminent danger requiring immediate rescue?
· Exact location (refer to the OS Map)
Mini inshore flares are useful and cost effective, read the instructions carefully.
If you embark on further more extreme adventures then a marine VHF Radio (which requires training and a license) or A PLB Personal Location Beacon could prove a life saver.
Record the accident / incident
Depending on where you are the harbour master may require notification. If you have hired the equipment then the hirer will need to record the incident.
There is a lot of amazing training available here are a few ideas:-
· VHF Radio
· RYA First Aid at Sea
· SUP Rescue Techniques