Today’s tower talk topic is the med kit and how you should prepare to use it and how to maintain them. It is important to recognize your site’s most common first aid needs when design the med kits each season. Yes that’s right, you should reevaluate what you are stocking prior to each new season and make sure the things you need most are most plentiful.
For example, if you have had high jellyfish sting counts in recent years, it would be prudent to purchase excess meat tenderiser to treat wounds on station in the event of a severe encounter. While it is wise to refer stings to the bathhouse on days when bathers are present in large numbers, many facilities will have sufficient tower coverage to allow for onsite treatment.
In the case of how kits are laid out, it is important to drill moulage with all the gear you will have at your disposal in a response scenario. Most of the times you hop down from the tower you will have run of the mill first aid, but on some occasions, some really gory stuff will be waiting.
One time at a shallow water no surf beach I hoped down to respond to a young woman who asked for a band-aid. She had slit her foot open from the ball of the foot to the heel about a quarter inch wide on a broken bottle, and it was bleeding heavily. She was in shock, and her friends were to drunk to realize what had happened or be of any assistance. I was clumsy and slow in my treatment initially due to an understocked kit that had one thing pad of gauze and a quarter bottle of hydrogen peroxide. Making matter worse I had never needed to use my kit in a situation like this so I must of have searched it ten times looking for more of what I needed. My training eventually set in and I radioed for more supplies from the bathhouse, but in hindsight, I could have performed better.
Having what you need on hand is only half the battle, you must be familiar with the tools in your tool bag to ensure you can be a professional when it counts. Be prepared. See you on the next rotation.