The commitment and expertise of RNLI volunteers and staff have been recognised with New Year’s Honours for RNLI Clinical Operations Manager Paul Savage, RNLI Legacy Income Manager Sue Fernley and Port Isaac Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer Robert Bulgin.
Volunteer lifeboat crew members often treat casualties in demanding and stressful environments – from the deck of a lifeboat in a Force 9 gale, to flooded homes, and even when ‘off duty’ at road traffic accidents or incidents within their communities. And so being equipped with vital first aid skills goes a long way to ensuring they are ready for anything.
Paul Savage, the RNLI’s Clinical Operations Manager and volunteer crew member at Tower lifeboat station, has been instrumental in developing a bespoke casualty care course for the RNLI’s 4,500 volunteers. It is so simple it has proved revolutionary not only for the charity, but also for other emergency services who are now adopting the same approach.
Paul is now being recognised for his work with an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the Queen’s New Year Honours List 2014.
What separates his methodology from any that has gone before it is its simplicity; a process that relies on check cards as opposed to memory, meaning crew members and lifeguards can quickly assess casualties and provide the most appropriate treatment.
And because RNLI crew members come from all walks of life – from builders to tree surgeons – the training does not rely on a medical background.
The training is reinforced by treatment cards, manuals, scenario training cards and e-books, all designed by Paul, and approved by the College of Paramedics and the Royal College of Surgeons (Edinburgh).
As Paul says, ‘It’s about equipping people with the skills and the confidence to treat casualties, whether that’s in their role as a volunteer crew member on a lifeboat or patrolling the beach as a lifeguard. Increasingly we’ve known lifeguards and crew witness various medical incidents away from their RNLI role and have been able to stabilise the casualty until an ambulance arrives, all thanks to their training. It just goes to show that these are skills for life.’
‘I am incredibly proud of all of our lifeboat crew and lifeguards -– treating people in the hostile environment in which we work is incredibly difficult and they do a very good job.’
Paul Boissier, the RNLI’s Chief Executive, says: ‘I have no doubt that this training has helped save many more lives, and it’s brilliant that Paul’s work has been recognised in the Queen’s New Year Honours List. We’re very proud.’
Elsewhere, RNLI volunteers and staff alike have also been recognised in the Honours List.
The RNLI’s Legacy Income Manager, Sue Fernley, has been appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE).
Sue ran the RNLI’s legacy team for 21 years – one of the most complex, time consuming and critical jobs in the RNLI. Without her skill and compassion, the charity’s rescue service would undoubtedly be affected. Legacies account for 60% of the RNLI’s income every year, and Sue’s role requires skill, diplomacy, sensitivity, and a substantial amount of unpaid overtime – time that she cheerfully puts in for the sake of the charity and, more importantly, for the bereaved families.
Sue also devotes a lot of her spare time to the community of Poole. For over 30 years she has been leader of the local Brownie troop.
Paul Boissier, RNLI Chief Executive, said: “Sue Fernley is the embodiment of charitable service. She is one of the people who quietly, and without fanfare, contributes massively to the wellbeing of her community. Whether it is in her uniquely sensitive role of working with bereaved families to deliver the RNLI’s legacy funding, or instructing young Brownies, she brings a ready smile, a willingness to contribute to the full and a heart of gold.”
Robert Bulgin, known by most as Bob, has been a volunteer with the RNLI lifeboat station in Port Isaac for the past 13 years, both in his capacity as Chairman of the fundraising branch (2005) and as the station’s press officer (2000). He has been recognised with a Medal of the Order of the British Empire (BEM).
Bob has organised numerous balls, auctions, lotteries and tea parties to bring much needed funds into the charity’s collection boxes. He also liaises with the local media following on from rescues, and helps to raise the profile of the RNLI’s volunteer crew amongst the local community.
Bob also provides enduring and vitally important pastoral care for the station’s crew members, most notably following a dramatic and challenging rescue in April 2012 in which a father and son were pulled from heavy seas at Tregardock.
Tom Mansell, RNLI Divisional Operations Manager, says Bob is an extremely valuable member of the RNLI team at Port Isaac;
‘Bob is a pivotal member of the team at the lifeboat station, wearing two hats as Lifeboat Press Officer and Chairman. He provides wisdom, support, humour and advice in appropriate measure and I know he is appreciated by everyone around him. People like Bob are the lifeblood of our charity and I and the regional staff are all delighted to see him honoured in this way.’
Leley Waite, Deputy Faculty Manager for the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at Lancaster Universtiy was also recognised with a BEM in part for her work for the RNLI.
Notes to editors
- Following 15 years working for the NHS, Paul joined the RNLI in 2005 as a Sea Survival Trainer. Paul was volunteer lifeboat crew at Poole Lifeboat Station from 1985-2001. In November 2012, Paul returned to volunteering as a crew member at Tower Lifeboat Station on the River Thames, working to improve the product he designed by immersing himself in the RNLI’s busiest station in the UK. He juggles this voluntary commitment in London with his day job, based at the RNLI College in Poole, Dorset, often travelling many hours between the two. He is also chairman of the UK Search and Rescue (SAR) Medical Group, helping to share expertise and further improve the methods being used across all UKSAR organisations.
- The casualty care methodology that the RNLI uses is colloquially known as ‘Big Sick, Little Sick’, and works on the principle that lifeboat crew members and lifeguards can identify the severity of a casualty’s injury or illness, then determining the best course of treatment.