Prepping for boating season

Crew members unload the “patient” from the boat, an then transport him to the ambulance. (Ashlyn Korienek/News Advocate)

Manistee Fire, US Coast Guard take on test lifesaving operation

MANISTEE — A call came in around 8 a.m. on Wednesday, in which a 68-year-old man had chest pains but his boat was stranded on Lake Michigan.

It was only a test, but the City of Manistee Fire Department and U.S. Coast Guard Station Manistee crew took the lifesaving drill seriously, as boating season is right around the corner.

Chief petty officer (BMC) Adam Fredrickson, of U.S. Coast Guard Station Manistee, said a test like this is vital to ensure all parties are working together to save lives.

“We had a report of a 68-year-old man that was having some chest pains, possibly a heart attack and also their vessel was disabled, so they were not able to make it back in,” Fredrickson said. “It was (near) the City of Manistee pier about a mile off. The initial call went into Manistee County Central Dispatch and from there it branched out. They notified the locals first, and through the chain of command we were notified.”

Both crews were able to transfer the subject from his boat to the Coast Guard’s vessel, back to shore and into an ambulance within 36 minutes from the initial call.

“I think they did excellent,” Fredrickson said. “Our protocol as far as when we are notified, we have to be leaving the dock within 30 minutes. We were able to leave the dock within 12 minutes.”

While the skies were clear and Lake Michigan was calm, Fredrickson said poor weather conditions would have slowed down the timing, but the process would have remained the same.

“If we can time it right, with the right people in the right place then we have a better chance in saving someone’s life,” he said. “The assumption of this drill was we were the only assets able to respond. Sometimes we are going to be the ones that have to deal with it.”

Tim Kozal, Manistee Department of Public Safety director, said the crew’s response time on Wednesday would have been potentially lifesaving.

“Not all of these calls are going to be cardiac situations, but it’s very critical in cardiac situations that we get the person to land,” Kozal said. “That type of timing is excellent, and we could hopefully get the person (to the hospital) within the time needed.”

Fredrickson said his crew did not know what was going on when the call first came in. However, they all responded professionally.

“My crew was not filled in that this was happening, people started arriving and they were wondering what was going on,” he said. “I think their reaction times were spot on. Especially coming off from the winter, these are the kinds of training that we need to start doing before the boaters start to get out there.”

Echoing Fredrickson, Kozal said he thought both crews dedicated themselves to the situation. He said this test operation was something that was in the works for awhile.

“I thought it went very well, especially with not having a live-person event,” Kozal said. “Everybody was serious about it, they handled it well, worked together and helped out with the CPR.”

 

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Posted by Ashlyn Korienek

Ashlyn is the cops & courts and city reporter for the Manistee News Advocate. You can reach her at (231) 398-3109 or akorienek@pioneergroup.com

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