Dragon Boat US

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911 Emergency

Steerspersons have great responsibility concerning the safety of those in their charge. You will be the one they turn to in an emergency. It's not just about doing a head count while the zodiacs and Life Guards are on their way, things happen during practices too. I've carried a Life Guard with hypothermia to an ambulance (44 people ended up in the water and she insisted on being the last one out), during practice we docked at a deserted restaurant to transfer a paddler for a trip to the hospital. 

Reduce Risk - Make it very clear you and you alone are in charge. Maybe someone shouldn't be on the water. It's hard to tell someone they can't be on the boat because they are a risk. If you can't do it yourself then find someone that can. 

Know the location of First Aid and emergency services. Ask the promoters or event staff if there's a first aid station, or procedures . If there's an ambulance on site take the time to say hello, introduce yourself and state your role. "Hi. I'm Craig and I'll be steering Dragon Boats out there today. Are you here all day? What do I do if we need you?".

Know you can call emergency services. - Does your phone work in the country, city, or region you're racing in?  Do you know how to call emergency services there? If you call 911 will you get emergency services in the city you want or one on the other side of the lake?

Know where you are. - "We are at the pier on the South end of the Main Street bridge." goes a long way when trying to get rescued quickly.

Have an exit strategy. - Knowing where you are doesn't help if you're inaccessible to EMS or rescue. Knowing how to get to the nearest location accessible by EMS does. Know your exits in advance.

Get help so you can handle the tasks at hand. - Call your people on shore, tell them to get EMS to the location you have planned in your exit strategy, or have someone else on the boat handle the call, while you handle the tasks at hand.

Handle the tasks at hand. - Don't panic. You've got help on the way. Get to your exit with "deliberate speed". You have to decide whether to beach or dock the boat. You have to decide whether to move the injured party on shore or not. You have to administer First Aid.


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