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Paekakariki lifeguards awarded for non-water-related rescue

On December 10, 2017 a cycling group member approached lifeguards who were training at Paekakariki Surf Life Saving Club for their assistance with first aid after a woman fell off her bike.

However, upon arrival Paekakariki lifeguards Ben Flynn, Ben Strombom, Jake Devine, Heath Jordan and Otis Hungerford found a very serious medical emergency unfolding.

The patient was lying on her front, unconscious, with laboured breathing so Senior Lifeguard Ben Flynn immediately took control of the incident and provided first aid.

A multitude of first aid skills were applied before arrival of paramedics which included opening up an obstructed airway and providing oxygen.

When paramedics arrived on scene, they classified the patient as Status 1 and requested the rescue helicopter due to the serious condition of the patient.

Lifeguards continued to assist and found a suitable site for landing, cleared the area of hazards and requested help from Fire and Emergency to assist with site safety and crowd control.

The patient was transported to Wellington Hospital where it was found she had suffered an aneurysm and would require surgery. It is without doubt that the actions taken, especially those of the junior lifeguards, had made a difference in the patient’s condition and undoubtedly aided in the chances of a full recovery with friends and family of the patient heaping praise on them for their actions.

If it wasn't for the lifeguards’ quick intervention and effective first aid, the outcome would have been different. With the airway being compromised and the fellow cyclists not knowing what actions to take, it was highly likely the patient may not have recovered.

Surf Life Saving New Zealand (SLSNZ) would like to acknowledge and congratulate the lifeguards involved for their vital assistance, and for showing how qualified lifeguards are assets to the community, both in and out of the water.

“These lifeguards demonstrated their value within the wider community by providing critical first aid to this patient who wasn’t in, or near, the water. All of our qualified lifeguards receive extensive first aid training so they are a real asset to our neighbourhoods, as shown by this group who undoubtedly made a difference in this instance,” said SLSNZ Central Region Manager Charlie Cordwell.

For their efforts, the lifeguards will receive a $500 BP gift voucher and further praise from Mr Cordwell.

“We are immensely proud of these lifeguards for their efforts in helping this woman in her time of need and ensuring she got the best possible care within minutes,” he added.

BP NZ Managing Director Debi Boffa says the quick response and skills demonstrated by the lifeguards involved was outstanding. “Since 1968 we have been proud to stand behind this amazing organisation who educate people about how to stay safe on our beaches as well as helping save the lives of thousands of people every year,” she said.

Omaha Beach and Whangamata will receive $300 and $200 BP gift cards as second and third place winners respectively.

For more information about BP Rescue of the Month please visit http://www.surflifesaving.org.nz/lifeguarding/bp-rescue-of-the-month/bp-rescue-of-the-month/

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