By Ron Lane
The two major rescues, recently carried out in Noosas National Park, (one of which took three hours to complete and required helicopter medivac) has resulted in the introduction of a new training program. And this will be of the utmost importance. Known as the Noosa National Park Induction Course, it is under the guidance of Noosa senior Life Guard Isaac Smith with senior lifeguard Adam McKane supporting: it also has the total support and involvement of Noosa Surf Club Captain Roger Aspinall and Noosa Education Manager, Jonathan Donnelly.
Another to express concern regarding the need for such a program was Noosa’s Patrol 14 Captain, David Tomba. “Our patrol had discussed the possibility of obtaining a map of all vehicle tracks and also advance training for drivers; what lifeguard Isaac Smith and his team have formulated is spot on and has our total support.
“Tombas patrol 14, was one of the patrols involved in the recent major rescues in National Park.”Because of the number of major rescues in the Park being on the increase, a full knowledge of vehicle (ATV) access and travel, not only for our lifeguards and lifesavers, but also for Paramedics, Police and Fire and Rescue, is of the utmost importance. This sort of program, will guarantee that fully trained personal will be available to board the ATVs when called upon.
After discussing the basic concept with McKane, Aspinall and Donnelly, Smith was invited to present it to a meeting of all Noosa patrol captains and vice captains. All aspects of the Induction were well received and had the total support of all present. It was unanimously agreed that it should be immediately actioned.
This sort of program will guarantee that an emergency call to the park, will ensure that only fully trained personal will board the rescue vehicle. At present, the course is being undertaken by the club captain and patrol captains. Once this is finished, the course will cater for more senior members, till all are fully aware of all pathways and also have the capabilities to communicate with all support team members: Paramedics, Fire and Rescue and Police.
Also, radio operators will be made aware of the black spots (areas that make radio communication impossible) in the park, thus ensuring good radio communication at all times.
With the Christmas holidays just a matter of weeks away, the timing is perfect. Basically, the course will involve the total familiarisation of all aspects of the vehicle and walking tracks, into and out of the National Park: major danger areas, such as the Fairy Pools and others will be identified. The time taken to travel from places such as the Park gates, to the Fairy Pools, will also be noted: information such as this, can be of the utmost importance when the attendance of paramedics or helicopter crews are in urgent need.
When a patrol captain is advised of an emergency, he immediately notifies his vice- captain who assembles his team and move into the park. As the patrol captain must, in all situations, stay at his post on Main Beach, it is the vice-captain who takes charge of all call outs. His team will consist of hand-picked lifesavers who have completed the Induction course.
With regard to support teams there will be times when, in the park,an approach to a patient from land could be virtually impossible. On occasions such as this, the support teams of either IRB (Inflatable Rescue Boats ) or Wave Runner (Jet Rescue Skis) are called upon to assist by approaching from the sea.
‘The whole concept has now changed,” said senior Lifeguard Isaac Smith. “It is not just Noosa Beach, but it is now more like Noosa District: areas that we are now being called upon to respond to in times of emergency. Stretching from Teewah Beach to Alexandria Bay: this of course includes the Noosa Bar, West Beach and of course National Park: its unpatrolled beaches and danger spots such as the Fairy Pools. Happy to say that with the acceptance of the Induction Course, our lifeguards and lifesavers are now working closer together. Despite the fact that the lifeguards do all patrols during the week and the volunteers do the weekend, if there is an emergency on the weekend and some of our people are in the vicinity, we of course help out: we all work together.”
Speaking on behalf of the lifesavers, club captain Roger Aspinall said, “The Induction Course has our total support. Absolutely. Our two groups are working together and it is good for our new members to get to know the lifeguards: it is interesting to note that some of these lifeguards have come up through the ranks of the Noosa Surf club. Our major concern is of course Noosas Main Beach, but as Isaac has said if there is an emergency then we will of course respond. The old days of just caring for those bathing between the flags is well and truly over.”
This is of course correct: however, people must accept that they take responsibility for their own safety and that both the lifeguards and lifesavers are not there at their beck and call.
The National Park is of course becoming something of a problem. Because of its beauty and scenic walks, it is definitely a tourist attraction and brochures encourage the tourist to visit. Therefore, it is a must, for those in charge to ensure that all pathways are top class and the necessary signage at unpatrolled beaches is in place. With interstate travel being what it is and overseas holidays now a thing of the past the politicians are encouraging the holiday makers to visit their local resorts. Many will do so and as a result crowd numbers could spiral out of control. So, enjoy, be safe and above all ask for advice.
Over at Sunshine Beach Surf Club the Supporter Club is slowly starting to move again in the social arena. Club spokesperson Warick Redwood said, “We are up and running with a few wedding functions and they have been good. Everything went well and according to health regulations. With the functions being held in the upstairs room, with its unbelievable ocean views and great sunny days, it could not be better. All indications are that (with health regulations being followed) we are in for a big Christmas.”
With the upstairs room being what it is, the club has created an atmosphere that is ideal for special occasions: what could be better than the Melbourne Cup. “Already it is booked out for this year’s cup and if it goes as we think it will, it could become a major annual event : the hottest ticket in town.” We wish them well.