The jet ski accident suffered by a 16-year-old boy in Orient Bay on December 31, as well as that of a kite-surfer on the same beach a few days apart, remind us of the need for creation of aid stations on the beaches of Saint-Martin. If the two victims were able to be rescued, it was because nurses and doctors happened to be on the beach at the time of the accidents.
Mayors and seaside communities have a legal obligation to ensure the surveillance of some of their beaches. In Saint-Martin, this responsibility falls to the community. In 2016, it announced the construction of a first-aid station in Galion while the surveillance contract had been awarded to the Tous à l'ô association which operated the floating basin. The community had taken delivery of the construction work for the Galion first-aid station in the first quarter of 2017, which unfortunately did not have time to be used for its real function before being taken away by Irma.
The initial objective was to gradually equip the other beaches on the island, the Orient Bay being a priority. Since then, the majority has changed, Irma has passed and the creation of aid stations has not been a priority. Consideration is currently underway, in particular as to whether the COM would carry out this mission internally or entrust it to an outside body. In mainland France, the municipalities generally entrust beach surveillance to the SNSM, the fire brigade or the CRS. The SNSM of Saint-Martin cannot for personnel reasons. However, two local associations have been working on the issue for several years. The association Tous à l'Ô, dormant since the passage of Irma and the destruction of the basin and the aid station at Galion, has three first-aid trainers and four first-aid lifeguards. "My team is waiting for a rallying signal," says Boris Villemin, its director. Created in August 2017, AFPS 978, the French Association of First Aid in Saint-Martin, also relies on the construction of aid stations. "I train young people who are forced to look for another job while waiting" advances its president Arnaud Bourdier, nurse-anesthetist, also a member of the SNSM where he is responsible for training. AFPS978 has around twenty first-aid workers and ten trainers who are empowered to switch all levels of first aid from PSC1 to monitoring, in addition to training focusing on health and safety at work.
(More details on www.soualigapost.com)
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