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Thursday, 30 May 2024

Survival techniques to survive perils of the sea

ESSENTIAL SURVIVAL SKILLS: Emergency Medical Sciences fourth -year students were at Survival Centre for a Helicopter Underwater Escape Training. ESSENTIAL SURVIVAL SKILLS: Emergency Medical Sciences fourth -year students were at Survival Centre for a Helicopter Underwater Escape Training.

To prepare students for an emergency evacuation or egression in the event of a crash landing on water, the Survival Centre recently collaborated with the Department of Emergency Medical Sciences (EMS) to host a Helicopter Underwater Escape Training (HUET) for 19 EMS students.

HUET is designed to equip students with the necessary skills to survive and escape from a helicopter that has ditched into the water. The primary aim is to ensure that students from the EMS programmes are prepared for real-life emergency scenarios involving helicopters, enhancing their overall emergency response capabilities. “This is essential training as EMS practitioners could be required to proceed to an emergency in a helicopter. Aeromedical rescue module is part of their curriculum, and thus Survival Centre and EMS collaborate to complete the outcomes and assessment,” said Senior Maritime Instructor and Manager: Survival Centre, Samantha Montes.

The HUET course provides several benefits to the EMS students as they experience a simulated helicopter ditching, both controlled and uncontrolled, which prepares them for actual emergencies. This hands-on approach helps bridge the gap between theoretical knowledge and real-world application. The training helps students develop essential survival skills such as underwater escape, proper use of safety equipment, and techniques for staying calm under pressure.

By successfully completing the HUET course, students gain confidence in their ability to handle emergencies, which is crucial for their future roles as EMS professionals.

The training also emphasises teamwork and coordination, “which are vital skills for EMS professionals who often work in teams during emergencies”.

“The training day was a resounding success. All students, including those who needed to reattempt the escape, successfully passed the course. This indicates that the training effectively prepared students, allowing them to demonstrate proficiency in the skills taught. The success can be attributed to the well-structured programme, the expertise of the instructors, and the determination of the students.”

The training was conducted by experienced professionals, Cara Alberts, Ryan McConney and Colin Daniels who ensured high-quality instructions and safety throughout the course. Alberts is a maritime instructor with extensive experience in underwater escape training. McConney is a lab assistant/safety assistant who provided essential support and guidance during the practical exercises. Meanwhile Daniels, a lab assistant/safety assistant assisted in ensuring the smooth operation of the training sessions and student safety. Both lab assistants operated the winch controls for the HUET

A fourth year Bachelor of Emergency Medical Care student, Chumani Qinisile said: “For me it was adventurous, because I've never experienced such in my lifetime. When you outside, you think it's just a walk in the park but once you get inside the helicopter, that's where you realise that it's real. It was fun though.”

Chumani said the training shapes “your mindset” on how to react on those certain circumstances, not to panic and handle it in a very good manner and a manner that “will help you” survive such incident “if you ever come across it”. “I was not scared, just a little bit nervous. I love any activity that involves water in it, so for me it was just having fun.”

The second HUET training session will be held on 5 June and 20 students are expected to partake in the programme.

Written by Aphiwe Boyce