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Seafarers get basic life support training

Hundreds of AMOSUP members got a full-day training as lay rescuers in a series of workshops they’ve attended

Basic life support (BLS) is the foundation in preventing death in any case of an emergency or a disaster. Any form of aid or assistance that could be rendered in such a situation is essential to save a life. In any emergency situation, it is necessary for a rescuer to have basic knowledge on how to properly execute the response system.

This is exactly what hundreds of AMOSUP members practically learned in a training programme organised by the Union’s medical arm. The participants acted as lay rescuers in a series of workshops they attended for free.

Through AMOSUP Seamen’s Hospital Manila, in cooperation with the Department of Health, the seafarers learned to apply and perform BLS on board ships, as well as in their communities ashore. This full-day training that involved theory and practice provided ship officers and ratings practical knowledge on the importance of a competent rescuer in emergency care and BLS.

They were also taught about the dos and don’ts of CPR or cardio-pulmonary resuscitation using techniques and manoeuvres that a participant could do to bring the victim of a cardiac and respiratory arrest back to life. It was also discussed that CPR, whose assessments and interventions differ among adult, child, and infant, has its basic life support sequence that must be followed. Basically, they include verifying scene safety, introducing oneself as the rescuer, checking for responsiveness, activating emergency response system, and recognition of cardiac arrest and high-quality CPR.

Moreover, the participants learned to follow the algorithm or procedure in reviving adult and pediatric cardiac arrest victims. To further develop the trainees’ competence reviving a patient, the participants were taught to operate the AED or automated external defibrillator, which is a sophisticated computerised device that can analyse heart rhythms and generate high voltage electric shocks. Defibrillation is most likely to be successful if it occurs within minutes of collapse (sudden cardiac arrest).

Defibrillation is the most effective treatment for ventricular fibrillation (VF), which is a common and treatable initial rhythm in adults. Causes of VF and cardiac arrest include near-drowning, burst lung, decompression illness, re-breather malfunction, choking and carbon monoxide poisoning. Bleeding, heart attack and drug overdose also cause VF and cardiac arrest that have to defibrillate.

Through AMOSUP President Dr Conrad Oca’s commitment and the enthusiasm and dedication of Dr Frank Ang, chairman of the Continuing Professional Development Committee at AMOSUP Seamen’s Hospital Manila, the BLS Training Programme was a success.

As of October 2019, more than 800 ship officers and ratings have completed the BLS since it started in July – thanks to the expertise of 19 medical trainers from the Seamen’s Hospital who conducted the extensive and interactive training.

BLS training is being conducted every first two Saturdays of the month at the AMOSUP Seafarer’s House in Intramuros and on the third and fourth Saturdays at JSU-AMOSUP Maritime Museum in Malate, Manila. The programme has an average of 20-25 seafarers in attendance in each workshop.SF