Stay At Home – Protect The NHS – Save Lives

Many apologies for the delay in writing another blog post, but some of our team are key workers and have been pretty busy in their day job working to help protect the public from COVID-19.

We hope that everyone is keeping safe and well; and looking after your loved ones where possible! These continue to be challenging times, with everyone having to adapt to new ways of living and going about their daily business.  It won’t have escaped your notice, but there have been some ingenius ways of coping with life whilst staying at home.

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A plethora of community based support groups have sprung up, not to mention the growing popularity of virtual entertainment social media channels offering everything from cooking classes, children’s activities, schooling, fitness groups, dancing, pub quiz’s, drama and music sessions to name a few.  The RNLI are running their own ‘Water Safety Wednesday for children each week via their Facebook page.

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Ramsgate Lifeboat Station and All Weather Boat. Picture credit: Thanet RNLI Community Safety. Photo captured before COVID-19

As you will be aware the RNLI announced that all their stations, shops and engagement activity will be suspended until further notice follwing advice from HM Government.  This includes our drowning prevention work and water safety activity. Rest assured RNLI Crews, maintenance engineers, the supply team and HM Coastguard teams are continuing to provide an operational emergency service 24/7.

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Coastguard teams practising a water rescue. Photo credit: Greenock HM Coastgaurd Team

Duty Crew System – Lifeboat Station’s

I read this morning on one station’s social media page that they had introduced a ‘duty crew’ system: reducing the number of crew that respond to the pager launch request from the Coastguard so the risk of cross contaimination is reduced.

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RNLI Pager

Simply, crews will be split into teams or ‘watches’ with the appropriate number of women/men with key skills:  eg launch authority, coxswain, helmsmen, mechanic, navigator, tractor driver, or head launcher allocated to each team to provide the operational readiness.  Other safety measures will have been introduced at other stations to help mitigate risks where possible, but ensuring the lifeboat(s) and crews are able to maintain their search and rescue capability.

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Ramsgate Inshore Lifeboat – Atlantic 85 class (ILB) returning from a service call Summer 2019.

Minimising the risk to yourself and family

In line with the Government’s guidance on minimising the risk to yourself, family and others the Coastguard have said that visits to the beach should only be undertaken by those who live close to them.   If you do live close to coast please observe the government’s instructions which are available via the Public Health England site and maintain the 2 metre social distance if you meet anyone on your walk, run or cycle.

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Pete Mizen, assistant director for HM Coastguard, said: “The rules are very simple. The risk of spreading coronavirus is huge and while you might be OK, the person you give it to may not.

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HM Coastguard Officers dressed water safety kit during mult-agency exercise Photo Credit: Margate Coastguard Team (picturen taken before COVID-19)

“And if you get into trouble and have to call ‘999’ and ask for the Coastguard, you’re then putting frontline emergency responders at risk of Covid-19 too.  At this time of the year the beaches aren’t lifeguarded which is a double risk to you and our emergency responders. Help us to help you.”

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RNLI – Pausing Beach Lifeguard Patrols

You may also have read that the RNLI are “immediately pausing” lifeguard patrols at beaches, and other public organisations such as councils and tourist groups have also taken steps to try to deter people from visiting.

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Keyworkers

I am sure that you will all join our team in thanking all the key workers who are keeping the country going, protecting us, maintaining our emergency services and making sure we have got the essential supplies to keep everyone healthy and well.  So, whichever organisation, health service, company, charity, volunteer group or agency you work or volunteer for thank you very much for everything you are doing!

Rest assured our team are still working to share water safety and drowning prevention information via our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram platforms. If you do hear or see an animal or person who is in difficulty in the water at the coast dial ‘999’ straight away and ask for the Coastguard.

Please stay safe and thank you very much for reading.

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Picture taken at Margate Blue Light Community Day 2019 – (photo credit Thanet RNLI Community Safety Team)

Other useful links (to help you keep safe if you live close to the coast)

Out for a coastal walk – how to stay safe and have a great time!

Don’t paddle after your dog

How do I call for help by phone at the coast?

Sign up to the newsletter –  Thanet RNLI Community Safety Team’s work

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Acknowledgements

RNLI

HM Coastguard

Ramsgate Lifeboat Station

Margate Lifeboat Station