Sharing Lessons Learned for “Safer Seas”

Sharing Lessons Learned for “Safer Seas”

By Dione Lee

Most cultures use storytelling or “lessons learned” as a teaching opportunity for passing on information gained from experience that is usually intended to keep the learner out of harm’s way. “This is what you never want to do and I am going to tell you why….many years ago, when I was a young …” A good story teller can stir our emotions and activate our senses, creating a lasting memory.

One of the most memorable lessons I experienced early in my career was during a 40 hour Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER) course instructed by a paramedic/firefighter. He shared his personal story of being a first responder to a crime scene, coming home after the event and taking off his blood soaked boots at the front door. Shortly afterwards, he noticed his young child sitting on the floor with his boot in hand inches away from his mouth. Fortunately, he was able to remove the boot in time before the child put his mouth to the blood soaked leather. His lesson on the importance of proper decontamination protocol still resonates with me today. If he would have said “be sure to doff and bag your gear”, it would not have had near the impact. Through his story, he helped me to feel the horror of what could have happened to that child by not using proper decontamination control measures.

In the maritime industry, sea stories, either shared during a “safety moment”, “back aft conversation”, or training session, are very powerful and impactful when communicating and transferring important information. As most of you are aware, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recently released their annual report of compiled accident investigations entitled, “Safer Seas 2014: Lessons Learned from Marine Accident Investigations”.  Part of NTSB’s mission is to determine the probable cause of accidents and issue safety recommendations aimed at preventing future accidents. In Chairman Hart’s “Message from the NTSB Chairman”, he states the following about Safer Seas, “It represents our continuing commitment to sharing the lessons that we learn through our investigations.

A great number of marine accidents can be prevented when crews know and respond to safety issues early and when crews work together effectively in the event of a crisis.”In the 2014 version, a summary of safety issues is provided from the NTSB’s investigations to help encourage the sharing of these lessons learned. Below is a snapshot of some of these real sea stories shared.

At least 1 crewmember died and the vessel sank – probable cause was a severe heel to port, followed by immediate down flooding; unfortunately, the reason why the vessel loss stability could not be determined.

2 fatalities, 3 serious injuries and the vessel sank – probable cause was inadequate decision making and safety oversight.54 million in damages in vessel/dam allision – probable cause was proceeding with the passage during significant risk and probable contributing factor was lack of effective communication between the captain and lockmaster.

By embracing sea stories as a valuable training technique it will not only motivate the learner, and enhance retention of information, but hopefully ensure “Safer Seas” as the NTSB has intended through their annual report. Do you have lessons learned to share? Please share here.This entry has been created for information and planning purposes. It is not intended to be, nor should it be substituted for, legal advice, which turns on specific facts.

Source: Sharing Lessons Learned for “Safer Seas”

First Aid Kit For Boat &/or RV

First Aid Kit For Boat &/or RV

Thinking about getting a First Aid Kit for your Boat or RV? Good!

Having a top quality First Aid for your boat or RV is very important, and a piece of safety gear that many people over look.

Through our First Aid, CPR and AED training programs we see all kinds of first aid kits in the field; some good, and some really, really bad. Take for instance one kit we found on a contractors truck that had one used bloody 4×4 gauze pad, or another that was so old that all the the products contained in the kit had expired in 2000. We rarely see top quality First Aid or Trauma Kits on Boats or in RVs, most of the kits we see are $9.99 specials from the hardware store.

…When we boat or camp often the idea to to get away from it all comes with a certain acceptable risk…
” The worst time to plan for an emergency is in the middle of one!” 

You could find yourself outside of timely advanced emergency medical care. There are no EMTs in the middle of the Puget Sound, or in the remote wilderness so being prepared to care for the sick and injured is a top priority until help can arrive.

Getting a First Aid Kit for your Boat or RV that is stocked with the essentials is the easy part.

The best First Aid Kit in the world will not be of much use without knowing how to use the kit effectively. It’s one thing to treat scrapes and little cuts, but quite another when talking about more serious soft tissue injuries, broken bones and other major first aid situations. We highly recommend that you and your recreational family and friends attend a Red Cross Adult First Aid, CPR and AED class.

What class is right for you and what kit do you need?

It really depends on where you go, and access to EMS services. If you are the adventurous type spring for the First Responder Kit, day camping then a basic kit will suffice.

Boaters have very unique response needs in that even if you can see the shore response will be at least 30 minutes, unless you are very near a dock facility with fast response time by EMS. Regardless, a person suffering a Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) will need treatment within 10 minutes, or the survival rate drops to almost zero. The only effective treatment of SCA is the deployment and use of an AED (Automated External Defibrillator), like the Heartsine or ZOLL AED Plus® maritime packages offered by Northwest Response. 

Putting it all together

Having the right equipment is the start, its like buying a new GPS, or Charts for your boat, if you don’t take the time to learn how to use them, they aren’t much use when response time is critical; to quote Capt. Tom Bliss….“The worst time to plan for an emergency is in the middle of one!” And failure to plan is planning to fail.

Every minute that passes for a person suffering from a Sudden Cardiac Arrest will loose another 10% chance of survival without proper CPR and AED deployment. The skills required to administer life saving techniques can be acquired in as little as 2-hours, or a full Adult/Pediatric First Aid, CPR & AED class is only an investment of 6 hours and could turn out to be the best investment of time you will ever spend when it is you responding in a life threatening medical emergency, such as Heart Attack or Sudden Cardiac Arrest.

Northwest Response is a Proud Provider of American Red Cross First Aid Training and distributor of top quality First Aid KitsZOLL AEDs , Heartsine (Automated External Defibrillators). When you are shopping for first aid kits, or considering taking a first aid class, be sure to check with us first! We may be holding a Boating or Camping First Aid Class near you, and will be happy to help you choose the First Aid Kit that is right for your lifestyle.            

If you would like to take an individual First Aid Class, or you want to involve your entire Boating and Camping group, please call or email Northwest Response to set up a class.

Recreational Boater First Aid, CPR/AED classes at CWB Seattle

Recreational Boater First Aid, CPR/AED classes at CWB Seattle

Recreational Boater First Aid at CWB Seattle

One of the challenges in “First Aid” training for the recreational boater and/or avid sailor is that you have generic classes and hybrid classes with not much in-between. The generic classes leave you wanting, and the hybrid classes could cost you thousands of dollars. A MedPic class is certainly worth it, but nonetheless pricy.

Modern First Aid classes for the lay responder have been watered down to the point that why even bother. You can learn all of that from a YouTube video, and a good EMR (emergency medical response) book. Presently, the “Big Two Provider” classes are video driven, coma inducing, canned presentations that leave you saying; okay, I can do CPR, but what about the rest of it?

Finding a medium ground emergency medical response training course for the boater has been on the forefront of our minds here at Northwest Response for some time now.

The Northwest Response cadre is comprised of Professional Healthcare providers, EMR’s, EMT’s, Emergency Department Nurses and Technicians. We are also sailors, Captains, Coast Guard Active Duty, USCG transitioning and USCG Auxilarists, and STCW trainers. Some of us even teach the OUPV (six-Pack) through Master Mariner 100 Ton courses, and we hear ya!

Over the past year we have been fine-tuning a hybrid mariner centric emergency medical response course that you can actually use. We hit the tough stuff, the scary stuff, the #OMG stuff, but when you walk out of this class you will feel empowered and confident to really respond. This is new ground!

We are very proud to debut “The Mariner Emergency Medical Response Course” in Seattle at the New Wagner Education Center at the Center for Wooden Boats on the shore of Lake Union.

This Course is presented by Northwest Response and Captain Thomas E. Bliss, and approved by The United States Coast Guard for OUPV – Master Mariner.

Additional Approvals: Washington State L&I (Labor & Industry), and OSHA.

This course is not intended for those seeking STCW First Aid Certification.

To Learn More About The Course Content Please Click Here

About Your Instructor 

Captain Bliss is a Licensed USCG Master Mariner and self-described “Safety Nerd” who logs approximately 2800 hours a year in various safety training courses from BT (formerly BST), Emergency Medical Responder, complex SAR (Search and Rescue) training courses and Fast Rescue Boat OTW operations. 

He is a former Assistant Director for Fremont Maritime Services/India Tango where he specialized in Maritime Safety and Response Training, and as a cold water survival expert; Thomas has traveled to the far reaches of the planet including the Beaufort Sea, 270 miles north of the Arctic Circle to teach cold water survival to seismic ship-board exploration crews. 

For the past twenty seven (27) years, Thomas has resided in the Maritime Community of Gig Harbor, Washington where he continues to serve with the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary as a COXSWAIN, Flotilla Commander for the Bremerton Flotilla 4-5, and USCG AUX Gig Harbor Detachment Leader. He also served as a Flotilla Staff Officer in Communications (SO-CS) in the 13th Coast Guard District.

Thomas dedicates his time not only to educate professional mariners which includes a career highlight of completing essential shipboard Emergency Medical Response training to the crew of the newly christened 269′ National Geographic, Lindbald Expedition vessel “Venture“, but also to community recreational boating education.

He is the Founder and Director of Northwest Response (NWR); a Lay-Responder Medical Training Enterprise which is an Event Stand-by EMS service that provides care and medical coverage to thousands of event patrons from marathons, music festivals, and private corporate events. NWR also specializes in on-site First Aid, Bloodborne Pathogen, Asbestos Training as well as providing various companies the L&I required certification for Respiratory Fit Testing.

Captain Bliss is very proud to work with Destiny Harbor Tours providing fantastic “on the water” sightseeing tours in the South Puget Sound. Destiny also provides water Taxi Service for the University of Washington Husky Games ferrying fans from their boats to the stadium and back again for home games.

Thomas is indeed a “safety nerd” with a great respect and knowledge for all things relating to survival whether on land or on the water!