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Location: Narragansett Bay
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Re: What is the proper VHF protocol for a dire medical emergency?
A USCG officer taught the segment on distress calls and response in the Safety at Sea seminar.
First, MayDay is what they expect to hear when life is at risk. Second, they want you to call right away, don't wait. Do not concern yourself that you scrambled a bunch of helos and boats that you learn you don't need. That's not the way it works. They will assess the situation, get medical advice and/or radio support to you, before they send assets. They want to hear from you early, so they have time to sort it out, not when you say your passenger has been lying unconscious for 4 hours and you just lost their pulse.
(as an aside, I feel compelled to respond to the suggestion above that one begins CPR immediately for an unresponsive victim. You only begin rescue breathing, if the victim is not properly ventilating themselves. Then, you only continue with chest compressions, if you are unable to identify a carotid artery pulse. Immediately applying chest compressions to an unconscious victim that has a normal heart rhythm could cause cardiac distress)
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