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Canadian Coast Guard
Rescue specialists are watching over us
Rescue exercice on the CCGS Cap de Rabast

Rescue exercice on the CCGS Cap de Rabast

DFO   C. Demers

Whether it is supporting the commercial fishing industry, marine transportation, commercial shipping or the millions of recreational boaters across the country, Canadian Coast Guard crews have been on duty for 50 years. Over time, certain services that did not exist in 1962 have been added to handle new realities. The Rescue Specialist Program is one example.

In 1982, during a storm off the coast of Newfoundland in the overnight hours of February 14 and 15, the oil rig Ocean Ranger sank. Tragically, eighty-four people perished. There were no survivors.

Following this tragedy, a Royal Commission was created to shed light on the causes of this disaster. Various gaps were identified and, in an effort to avoid a repeat of such events, the Canadian Coast Guard established the Rescue Specialist Program. The program objective is to intervene not only with victims of maritime incidents, but also with other crew members in case of accidents on board.

Rescue specialists are crew members from the three areas of operation (deck, engine and logistics) who volunteer to be trained in advanced first aid. These individuals are on the frontline during incidents and often the first responders in case of injuries. Their job is to recognize medical emergencies or trauma, stabilize victims, heal wounds and evacuate those who require more significant treatment.

The Rescue Specialist Program has existed for over 20 years. Seventy-five rescue specialists work on the various Canadian Coast Guard vessels throughout Quebec. In 2010 alone, they were called to intervene in 133 incidents, 33 of which required medical evacuation.

The Canadian Coast Guard wishes to thank those whose skills, motivation and professionalism ensure the health and safety of mariners.

50 years of service

Logo du 50e anniversaire de la Garde côtière canadienne

Claude Demers
Canadian Coast Guard
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