If being an active Paramedic in Zimbabwe is not already enough of an adrenalin-pumping occupation, ACE’s Remote Rescue Training Course for paramedics certainly steps it up a notch, or 10!
ACE Air and Ambulance recently conducted their annual Remote Rescue training course for their Paramedics to ensure they can handle the challenges and obstacles involved in Remote Rescue operations. As a company that prides itself on being able to respond to medical emergencies in out-of-the-ordinary places, ACE puts their own staff through some of the most gruelling and terrifying conditions that Zimbabwe has to offer. “The Zambezi River Gorge, below the Victoria Falls, is the perfect setting to really test the mettle of our team with some very demanding conditions and terrain.” adds Mark Smythe, ACE Operations Director. “One can never predict where a patient can have an incident, nor in what conditions, so it is best to experience and practice working in the most extreme environments we can find, ensuring we are prepared for any eventuality.”
The Zambezi Gorge certainly offers this –temperatures can soar above 40 degrees with close to 100% humidity. The gorge itself can range from 200 to 250 metres deep with sheer sides cut from basalt rock, and where it isn’t absolutely precipitous, thick bush undergrowth or “rainforest” dominates. At the base of the gorge churns the mighty Zambezi River, galloping down the gorge and boiling into Grade 5 rapids, some of the biggest on earth. “Add in snakes, crocodiles, elephant and other wildlife, and you have a ‘perfect storm’. ” , grins Smythe.
The Remote Rescue Training Course is run over 4 days, during which the 13 delegates from ACE complete 3 different modules: High Angle Rescue, Swift and Rough Water Rescue and Wilderness Remote Rescue Included in these modules are exercises on team dynamics, leadership and working under stress and danger and a complete advanced resusitation scenario in the hopital setting. “We are very aware that as much as we need to learn the technical aspects on how to work in these unique situations, we also need to train our own people to be able to face these situations appropriately and work together effectively.” informs Britto Maseko, who leads the ACE Training Department with Sr Leti Moyo, Victoria Falls Base Manager. “Our formal paramedic training would be useless if we crumbled at the thought of a cliff face or a boiling rapid between us and our patient” adds Moyo.
ACE are assisted in their training course by long-time clients and experienced Tour Operators in the Zambezi Gorge, Wild Horizons. “Clive Bradford and his Wild Horizons Rafting and Safari teams are the ones who make this kind of training possible and (reasonably) safe for us, and so we owe them a huge debt of thanks for assisting us. We trust we can return the favour when an emergency situation occurs- although we hope we’ll never have to!” says James Halsted, Managing Director of ACE. “Special thanks also goes out to Dr Gurure and his team of the Chinotemba Medical Centre for the use of their facilities in order to conduct the in-hospital advanced resuscitation scenarios. The course is also mediated by external observers, ensuring our exceptional standards are verified externally.”
ACE operates Emergency Response Bases, including Ambulances, in Harare and Victoria Falls and employs around 50 medical personnel, including Aviation-Trained Flight Doctors, Trauma Nurses and Advanced Life Support Paramedics.
ACE runs the training course annually and invites other interested professionals in the medical community to join this training going forward. More information can be obtained at www.ace-ambulace.com or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.