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Two Central Coast surf lifesavers got a taste of Canberra on Thursday when they were presented with the National Rescue of the Month award for September at a special ceremony in the nation’s capital.

Jenni Darwin and Graeme Carroll (both members of Umina SLSC) travelled to Parliament House where they were honoured for their achievements by the Parliamentary Friends of Surf Lifesaving alongside lifesavers from Queensland and Victoria.

“It was a really inspiring ceremony and it was a great honour to be recognised along with our counterparts from the other states,” said Graeme Carroll.

Carrol who has been a lifesaver since 1973 and is a dual member of both Umina and Freshwater surf clubs said today’s presentation made it clear just how important the skills he’s learned over four decades really are.

“I think that as lifesavers it’s important that we realise that we never know when our training may be needed. All of the rescues honoured today occurred outside patrol hours so you need to be ready to use them 24/7,” he said.

Graeme and Jenni’s journey to Parliament House began on the afternoon of Friday 2 September at 2:30pm, when Jenni Darwin was running along the foreshore when a couple ran out of a house carrying a baby in their arms panicking and yelling for someone who knew CPR.

Jenni, who is herself a mother of five, ran to assist and started performing CPR. “I grabbed the baby and turned her onto her tummy to clear her airways because it looked like she was choking on something,” Jenni Darwin said at the time.

Local swim coach and fellow surf lifesaver Graeme Carroll, who was walking his dogs nearby, immediately went to assist.

“Graeme came over and gave her a couple of breaths (mouth to mouth) but nothing changed then he gave her a couple more and he said he could feel her breathing.”

Jenni then carried the baby into the house and kept her in the recovery position while Graeme called Triple Zero and described the baby’s condition to the paramedics.

Graeme helped to keep the parents and their older daughter calm while Jenni continued to monitor the child’s condition until paramedics arrived. The baby was transported to Gosford Hospital and has since made a full recovery.

“Having the experience and constant reinforcement of CPR methods when you’re on patrol and going through different types of scenarios paid off in this situation,” Jenni Darwin said. “I’ve dealt with a couple of incidents in my time as a surf lifesaver but nothing this critical.”

The combined efforts of Jenni and Graeme in using the skills they’d learned as surf lifesavers undoubtedly helped save the child’s life.


Thursday 1 December 2016