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 Great Lakes Shipwreck Preservation Society

Dedicated to Preserving our Shipwrecks and Maritime History
"From Prevention to Preservation"

News Stories

2020 - EFR - Closing Report

Phil Kerber | Published on 3/11/2020
Closing Report:

The EFR Class was another success! The class was set up a while ago and ironically enough it was also held at the beginning of the reported Coronavirus (COVID-19) Outbreak which was March 11, 2020. The GLSPS Board of Directors decided to have the class based upon the information available at the time. We all agreed to discuss more about it at the beginning of the class before we proceeded. We talked about having to take extra precautionary measures to protect ourselves. We decided to use latex gloves and other barriers along with thorough cleaning of the test dummy's after every use.

The class started off with a detailed review. Most participants have been attending the class since 2007. Each year it becomes easier and almost second nature and automatic to us as far as a response to a patient. Practice is the name of the game to be efficient at attempting to save a patient’s life.

We then continued with the practical part of helping a patient by identifying ourselves to the person we are going to help medically and having someone call 911. Then immediately start accessing the patient to find out why they are not responding. Were they just in an accident, or are laying on the floor or ground and why? We used the three-practice dummy's that Scott brought for the participants.

The newest CPR procedures were practiced. This new version of CPR is a fast-paced procedure and is hard to keep up with so, it needs to be practiced and mastered. If you perform CPR correctly, you will not get as exhausted. Although you will still get tired and exhausted. That is why you need others to help or trade off/take turns when performing CPR!

After each one had a chance with CPR we moved into the AED defibrillator and how to use it properly. Both Scott and GLSPS brought their AED units to use and practice on. The GLSPS has a AED unit that is carried on the RV Preservation Research Vessel at all times. To be able to practice the use of the AED the unit (Phillips AED) comes with practice pads and verbal instructions as to how you use it properly. It is a great unit and is easy to operate with it's tutorial.

The Emergency First Response Class is a requirement of the GLSPS Safety Protocol and the Captains of the RV Preservation and Project Leaders must go through the training every two years to be able to operate the boat or be in charge of a Project and certain Programs. That way there is always someone on-board or at each event that is medically trained for certain medical emergencies.

After we all mastered the AED equipment use and procedures, we jumped right into the oxygen application training/review. As I mentioned above, many of us have been through this class multiple times since it was started back in 2007. We know firsthand how to operate the Oxygen systems on both the RV Preservation and with our portable oxygen systems we bring with us at certain dive sites. Although and little review is always welcome. We started with the basic set up of equipment and how to maintain it. How to assemble it properly and three ways to apply it to a patient. The three ways were, Auto flow rebreather mask, on-demand mask and using an AMBU (Artificial Manual Breathing Unit) bag / resuscitator to aid in a patient that's not breathing. We also touched on the manual operating O2 valve (positive pressure inflation) which has been replaced by the bag systems now. PPI is not used anymore because of a chance of over inflating the patient’s lungs. We discussed one more topic on using the restricted airway pieces. We discussed how you determine the correct size to use on the patient, and how to insert it properly. The selection the GLSPS has in its First Aid Bag are color coded for easy selection and patient size.

The medical equipment that is supplied on the RV Preservation is quite good. They have a bagging system in the first aid bag for emergency use if needed. It's cleaned twice a season for protection against infectious diseases. We have an Oxygen unit with both a 14 CU FT and a 25 CU Ft tank of Oxygen on-board. Not to mention we have Surface Supplied Oxygen System for decompression in a 280 CU FT tank on-board as well. We typically have a lot of O2.

After mastering the non-breathing patient and oxygen application procedures, we discussed other things such as back board operation and protecting a neck injury. Then discussed what to do with bleeding patients, broken arms or legs. We also discussed many different scenarios whenever you would experience a person that needs medical help. We talked about what we do first, second, third, fourth and so on. We think it is an advantage to talk about real world situations to help understand and practice what one needs to do to try and safe a life. Even I (Phil K) discussed a recent Medical Emergency I was involved in with a 90-year-old man that showed signs of a heart attack. His heart stopped for 30 seconds! Luckily, I was trained to notice something was happening and had someone call 911 and started CPR right away and after the patient and I were secured. I can happily say I saved him along with the help of others that were medically trained. At the time of this closing report the 90-year-old guy has now had a pacemaker installed and is living comfortably and safe again.

Our final topic was the importance of protecting yourself from infectious diseases, such as the Coronavirus (COVID-19). When you see someone needing help medically, the first thing to do is make sure you are protected as well. That includes the environment you might find yourself in at the moment. It might be on the side of the road, a busy street, a car accident, a boat out on the water, at the mall in a terribly busy place or it is very noisy. The next particularly important safety protocol is for the person giving the medical care is to dawn or apply all barriers available before helping the person and before he or she becomes your patient. You must protect yourself or you could become a victim as well.

As usual this class was highly informative. It was a great review and we were able to practice a lot of the procedures live. Thank you, Scott and Tracy, from "Air Down There Scuba" for teaching the class for the GLSPS once again. Scott is an EMT and trainer for the Little Canada Fire Department. Scott has been teaching this class since 2010. We appreciate that he and his staff are well trained and are willing to do the class training for us every two years.

Thank you to all the participants for joining us for the EFR Class 2020. A special thanks to our Captains that operate the RV Preservation Research Vessel. It always nice to have our Captains up-to-speed as far as the medical training is concerned. Thank you to our Project Leaders for keeping themselves up-to-date on the EFR requirements of the GLSPS as well!

If you have any questions or comments about the EFR Class, please feel free to contact us by clicking on the email address below or contact list on the left side of the GLSPS website.

We hope to see you at the next EFR training/review class in 2022. Please watch for it in the Calendar of events.