Surf Studio: Chris Jacobson, Chair of Lifesaving
On the latest episode of Surf Studio we chat to Chris Jacobson, SLSA Chair of Lifesaving, as he talks us through some of the important safety updates and COVID-19 precautions ahead of the summer season to ensure clubs, surf lifesavers and the public remain safe on our beaches.
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Jacobson emphasises that the main priority of SLSA and the state centres is “making sure our members feel safe and supported and that they know they can come along to the surf club and participate in patrols, training and competitions in a safe environment”.
“One of the biggest things that the clubs are trying to work on is still keeping their doors open and financially having the ability to make sure that we’ve got everything in place to be able to do what we need to do as an organisation,” he said.
Jacobson said that SLSA has been working with clubs and members across the country “to ensure that we are continuing to train and update so that we are able to deal with any incidents and meet club service agreements… to ensure that we are continuing to meet the needs of the community”.
Some of the COVID-19 related challenges that members should expect to face this upcoming season, include practical changes made to skills maintenance, modifications to rescue techniques and use of personal protective equipment (PPE).
“This season the National Lifesaving Education Committee met, and we really tried to shift as much of the focus of what we can online. This year was the launch of the new surf rescue certificate and bronze medallion course. As a part of that process, there was a lot of development done in online learning,” said Jacobson.
One of the key changes that members can expect to see this season is that CPR training will be completed online, as recommended by SLSA minimum standards. Additionally, members will find that the radio and signals components, rather than being face-to-face, will now be done online with modules to practice scenarios and put them into context.
In terms of the day to day operations on the beach, Jacobson suggests that there will no major changes when performing a tube or board rescue and clubs will operate as business as usual where rescues are concerned.
“Now more than ever, we need to be very smart in the ways that we patrol, using the roving and outpost patrol methods, and at the same time continuing to ensure that we are social distancing where appropriate and able,” he said.
The National Medical Advisory Group have also worked closely with SLSA to determine a clear set of guidelines identifying the safe and effective use of PPE (personal protective equipment). (https://youtu.be/oom6eVJo6NI).
“It’s no different to normal, whenever we’re doing first aid or we’re treating someone, we should always complete all the steps necessary to protect ourselves… the face mask is an added protective barrier that we can take to keep our members safe,” said Jacobson.
Most importantly, Jacobson highlights that “making sure that members are not turning up to patrol if we are feeling sick or have any of the COVID-19 symptoms. The best thing we can do is stay at home and go get tested.”
“The protection of our members is paramount, and also that we are ready and able to respond to any situation with the public, and that their safety is number one.”
For updated information and resources that relates to COVID-19 and Surf Life Saving, please visit sls.com.au/covid-19/.
To find out more from Chris and the COVID-19 safety updates for the upcoming season, make sure to tune into episode ten of Surf Studio on the SLSA website and SLSA Facebook page.