Seven surf lifesavers and lifeguards from Sunshine Coast Emergency Response Group and South Bank Lifeguard Service in QLD were officially recognised at Parliament House today with National Rescue of the Month Awards for November and December 2018 respectively.
The ceremony was attended by Co-Chairs of the Parliamentary Friends of Surf Life Saving, the Hon Sarah Henderson MP, Member for Corangamite, and the Hon Matt Thistlewaite MP, Member for Kingsford Smith, with a host of key Federal Members attending the ceremony.
Surf Life Saving Australia’s Rescue of the Month recognises incredible and courageous acts of service in saving lives.
“The members who we honour here today used their training and skills gained as lifesavers to ensure that another two people were able to return home to their loved ones,” said Surf Life Saving Australia President, Graham Ford AM.
“The iconic red and yellow flags of Surf Life Saving, and the lifesavers that vigilantly patrol our beaches are part of a movement dedicated to saving lives just like these brave individuals who have been honoured with Awards today.”
“The summer period 1 December 2018 – 31 January 2019 is currently proving to be the worst on record for the past 15 years. Current findings highlight that the 14-year average for coastal drowning deaths for the period 1 December to 31 January is 27. However, for the 2018-2019 summer the figure is 42. This represents a 56% increase compared to the 14-year average.’ he said.
‘SLSA are asking all beach goers to take a few moments to just check where you are, check if there are rips, look for other hazards such as large waves or rocks, and have a plan. But our core message is find a patrolled beach as this is supervised by surf lifesavers or lifeguards. By simply stopping to take two to three minutes to identify any dangers and find a patrolled beach, could save your life. “
November Rescue of the Month – Sunshine Coast Emergency Response Group
On Thursday 15 November 2018, Duty Officer Graham Sharry received a call advising of a kayak sinking one kilometre off Moffat Headland. Kayaker Kyle Roberts had been knocked into the water by a 4m tiger shark and was able to radio for help. Graham Sharry quickly launched his Rescue Watercraft (RWC) to search for the sinking kayak, with Jacob Thomson scanning the water from the Moffat headland. Nathan Steer launched a second RWC to assist with the search.
Spotting the kayak through his binoculars, Jacob directed the RWCs to the position. Graham picked up Kyle and transported him to King’s Beach where he was assessed by paramedics. The rescue coordination demonstrated excellent scene management and bravery of the RWC operators who disregarded their own safety to ensure the successful rescue of the victim.
December Rescue of the Month – South Bank Lifeguard Service
On 2 December 2018, South Bank Lifeguard Service received a radio call informing the service of an unconscious victim at the Stanley Street plaza of the South Bank Parklands. The victim had been feeling ill and was in the process of sitting down when they lost consciousness.
Lifeguard Olivia O’Brien arrived on scene to find the victim being rolled into recovery position by the police. With the victim showing no signs of life, Olivia immediately began compressions. Lifeguard Joanne Field arrived with a defibrillator and oxy viva. The lifeguards applied the defibrillator pads and oxygen whilst compressions were maintained.
A shock was delivered to the victim, but with no pulse, they recommenced compressions. Oxygen and OP airways were introduced to provide advanced support to the victim. When paramedics arrived on scene and took over treatment, the lifeguards assisted with crowd control. Without the quick actions and expert lifesaving skills from the two lifeguards, the victim would not have survived.
(L to R): Tim Watts MP Federal Member for Gellibrand, Matt Thistlethwaite MP Federal Member for Kingsford, Award recipients Graham Sharry, Award percipient Nathan Steer, Joanne Field, Sarah Henderson MP Assistant Minister for Social Services, Disability and Housing and Federal Member for Corrangamite, Andrew Wallace MP Federal Member for Fisher, SLSA President Graham Ford AM