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The medals were still being handed out at the NSW Championships First Aid competition inside the Queenscliff SLSC when an emergency unfolded on the beach in front – a surfer pulled from the water not breathing.

Volunteers on patrol at both Queenscliff and Nth Steyne performed CPR on the man in his 60s, along with lifeguards, including using a defibrillator. He was transported to hospital by Ambulance.

“I was very impressed with the patrol captain, Shaun Sursok,” said Adrienne Lowe, who was at Queenscliff helping to judge the First Aid competition and scrambled to act as the initial Duty Officer on scene for the CPR.

“He really impressed me with the way he just pulled his team together, they were really well organised, doing what they’d been trained to do.

“It was a busy day, there were a lot of sightseers and particularly when the helicopter landed, the patrol did an amazing job clearing the area and working with the police and ambulance to clear a safe landing site,“ she said.

Ironically, the actions and skills displayed by the patrol team embody exactly what the First Aid Competition aims to develop and showcase. This weekend’s rescheduled Championship competition was one of the few events to be staged at this year’s NSW Surf Life Saving Championships, proudly supported by Your local club, after all of the Masters and Opens Championships were forced to cancel due to the flood emergency.

Not requiring access to the beach or water, this weekend’s competitors, in age divisions from Under 15 to Opens, were very appreciative to have been able to compete.

“It was such a good learning curve, every competition you do you learn something,” said Adrienne. “To give them that opportunity at a State level will be invaluable when they come to compete at the Aussies.”

It might be a less high-profile event than the Ironperson or Beach Sprint, however the First Aid competition is an extremely important part of Surf Life Saving Championships, designed to promote and demonstrate a high standard of First Aid prowess by Surf Life Saving members in teams of two.

Each event has a set simulated accident scenario and a set time limit for each team in the event to respond. Teams come out of isolation to a completely random emergency and are required to examine their casualties, make their diagnosis and then treat the casualties using the materials provided and their first aid kits.

Points are awarded based on the teams’ approach to the casualty, examination and diagnosis, treatment applied and management of the incident.

And it’s in the area of the approach to patients that judges have noticed the greatest improvement in performance, according to Adrienne Lowe, a Deputy Referee to Steve Haggett this weekend and 15-year veteran of officiating at First Aid and Lifesaving Championships.

“The standard was really high. We’ve seen it come up remarkably in recent years and the level of patient care has improved. It’s a great competition and it’s getting closer to what you’d do in a real life situation, the competitors are not just trying to get points.”

In the U15 division, Newport SLSC teams took gold and silver, while the always impressive Freshwater SLSC teams dominated the U17s and Umina won the U19 competition. Manly’s Jasmine and Lauren Costello claimed gold in the Open division.

First Aid Competition Results

Sunday 20 March 2022