Taking stock - and beware hot sand from barbecues
PUBLISHED: 07:00 26 September 2019 | UPDATED: 08:49 26 September 2019
As the summer draws to a close, Nigel Snowshall talks about how the Exmouth Beach Rescue Club is looking back over the season
With the summer season fading away it's time for Exmouth's volunteer lifeguards to take stock and debrief the season; compiling figures and statistics, identify trends and talking over what went well and what could have been improved helps to ensure that all those using our beach are kept safer year on year.
This approach, in use by the club since 1986, has resulted in a general downward trend of response activity and allows us to focus on targeted safety advice, helping to prevent incidents from occurring.
Education is a key role of any lifeguard; many of the holidaymakers who visit us each year live far from the coast and don't necessarily have an awareness of the potential danger that can lurk around our coastline. Whether it's fishing on rock outcrops, tombstoning into unknown waters or taking inflatables into the sea whilst unsafe conditions exist, lifeguards are there to advise and hopefully prevent serious incidents from occurring.
Of course not all incidents can be prevented and club members will work hard throughout the winter months to further their qualifications, improve their skills and plan for any adjustment in the way we operate as a result of lessons learned.
One worrying trend is the increasing number of burns resulting from disposable barbecues. The sand beneath these items can reach several hundred degrees and remain at very high temperatures well after the barbecue has been removed; however, the sand shows no visual sign of being so hot. Burns to the feet and hands are common and people should take care when using this type of barbecue on the sand.
Figures for the 2019 season were: five rescues, seven serious first aid, 17 minor first aid, 173 advisory interventions and nine lost children.