Austere Risk was engaged to provide consultation and on-location medical support to a remote shark filming expedition team operating in the Recherche Archipelago Nature Reserve, Western Australia. The mission was to research, document, and film white sharks in their native habitat in an untouched, and previously unexplored marine wilderness area.
A detailed emergency medical plan was prepared for the client ahead of the expedition to assist in the management of medical emergencies. The plan detailed steps for managers and team members to take in the event of specific emergencies at the film locations and campsite, and included redundancy plans if the primary plans failed. Plans were also in place to rapidly evacuate the team from the fire-prone National park campsite in the event of a bushfire. Consultation was undertaken with all emergency service agencies, aeromedical providers, and local Search and Rescue authorities in the region to gather specific information to formulate the emergency plans.
The second part of this project was the on-location medic to accompany the expedition, treat injuries and illnesses, and coordinate the evacuation of a team member if necessary. The on-location medic was prepared to respond rapidly to the highest-risk activities (white shark interactions and rebreather diving), as well as treating all other medical or trauma presentations. Pre-dive briefs and a review of the medical emergency management plan was conducted before each dive to ensure all team members knew their role in the event of an emergency. Offline topographic and marine maps and satellite communications meant that the Austere Risk medic was able to rapidly develop new medical emergency plans as film locations changed at short notice, taking into account beach access, ambulance access, weather conditions, and VHF emergency radio range in the remote coastal region.
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