The Kendal and Lakes branch of the British Sub-Aqua Club (BSAC) who were successful in their bid for a grant of £10,000, say that the money from Sport England is a fitting birthday present to help them celebrate their 40th anniversary year.
They have used the cash to buy life-saving equipment including an Automated External Defibrillator (AED), a machine about the size of a lunch box, which delivers an electrical shock to the heart to restore a normal heart rhythm if somebody has a heart attack.
Company Director of a construction company, Gary Davis, who until January served as Diving Officer for the club, said they were initially unsure whether to apply for the grant in an Olympic year but decided they had nothing to lose.
He said: “As a club of more than 60 active members we dive on a weekly basis in and around the Lake District. Often that means we are 45 to 60 minutes away from a hospital or other specialist medical help and we can often struggle to get a good mobile phone signal.”
“As a club we take safety very seriously and anything we can do to protect our members and guests by making diving even safer, we will. Having a defibrillator with us on dive trips means we have another safety measure, another protective layer if you like, in place. “The usefulness of adding an AED to our existing oxygen and first aid kits was brought to mind when a diver from another club got into difficulties at Wastwater.”
“This made us realise how remote many of our dive sites are and made us determined to be as self-sufficient as possible, while awaiting the arrival of paramedics or other medical help.
“We always carry an oxygen kit and a full first aid kit so a defibrillator was a natural extension to that. We also realised we could do our own in-house training so used part of the grant to purchase a full training pack too.
“We were also able to add a resuscitation dummy which we were able to source, So have actually managed to purchase a 2/3’s life size resuscitation dummy with limbs which we are able to put into a wet suit, tank etc and place on a lake bottom for realistic rescue training purposes.”
“This means divers need to recover the ‘patient’ from the water bring him to the surface and then to the shore where lifesaving treatment can begin including full CPR and the use of a defibrillator. It means we can potentially save a life if we have a situation where a diver is in cardiac arrest.”
Mary Tetley is chief executive of BSAC which is the national governing body for the sport and has more than 1,000 friendly and sociable clubs across the UK and abroad. The organization represents more than 35,000 snorkellers and scuba divers and provides extensive diver training from beginner to expert and welcomes membership of divers trained by all other agencies.
She said: “Safety is taken very seriously at BSAC so I think the club has made some excellent choices with how to spend their sizeable grant. It is reassuring for club members to know this kit is on board so they can go and enjoy their diving experiences to the maximum.”
The current Diving Officer of the Kendal and Lakes Sub Aqua Club, Paul Fry, says Gary Davis worked tremendously hard to secure the Sport England grant for the club.
He said: “To be honest I didn’t hold out a great deal of hope with the 2012 London Olympics on the horizon. However, although there was a great deal of work involved in securing the grant, everything went very smoothly.
“In fact we were heartened when we realised Sport England were treating our application very seriously right from the outset.” According to Paul the grant couldn’t have come at a better time with the club celebrating its 40th anniversary year.
He said: “We pride ourselves on being a friendly club with an eclectic membership made up of members from all walks of life. We have divers who are Company Directors, Police Community Support Officers, HGV Drivers and Engineers who all come together to enjoy sport diving.
“We are looking at ways to celebrate the anniversary of the formation of the club but don’t have anything fully organised yet. Members are still coming up with ideas to be honest but we will certainly be doing something spectacular in the summer as a means of celebration.”
He added: “Most of our dives are done in the Lake District although we do venture further afield. It really is a friendly club and everyone seems to get on together and enjoy diving together.
“We train at Kendal Leisure Centre’s pool weekly between September and April for one hour from 9pm on Tuesdays and have a number of fully trained volunteer instructors. From April through to September we are out diving at least once a week and new members are always welcome.”
To find out more about BSAC go to www.bsac.com