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This could save your life after a shark attack

A 3.5m great white shark in the waters off the coast of Lighthouse Beach, Ballina.
A 3.5m great white shark in the waters off the coast of Lighthouse Beach, Ballina. NSW DPI

A MINUTE can be the difference between life and death when a major artery is severed in a shark attack.

Following a spike in shark encounters and attacks in North Coast waters in recent years, an Alstonville-based paramedic has created a shark attack pack to stem arterial bleeding in those critical moments post-attack.

 

One of two Israeli bandages in the shark attack pack.
One of two Israeli bandages in the shark attack pack. Contributed

Creator and avid surfer, Craig Nolan said the "simple, not complicated" pack contains first aid products to deal with a life threatening haemorrhage, which can result in mass blood loss that can kill in minutes.

The Shark Attack First Aid Treatment Pack includes: Combat Application Tourniquet (CAT) tourniquet, two emergency bandages - sometimes known as an Israeli bandage - for other wounds, as well as a pair of paramedic shears to cut wetsuits and gloves.

 

Paramedic shearers in shark attack pack.
Paramedic shearers in shark attack pack. Contributed

"The idea is how to keep yourself alive until the ambulance arrives," Mr Nolan said.

He said the application of the US military designed tourniquet can be done solo, meaning the victim can save themselves rather than rely on others.

Training in how to use the equipment is just as important as the kit itself, according to Mr Nolan who is dedicated to running training sessions with each person or group that purchases a pack.

He said it's vital people can grasp the application of the equipment and has offered training face-to-face or over Skype.

 

Medical gloves in the shark attack pack.
Medical gloves in the shark attack pack. Contributed

Monday's launch of the shark attack pack was the culmination of an idea brewing for months, Mr Nolan said.

A recent discussion with members of the public as well as questions about first aid strategies for shark-related injuries were cited as the catalysts in making his idea a reality.

Mr Nolan said although it's early days, interest has come from as far as California in the US.

To his knowledge, Mr Nolan said the kit was the first of its kind in Australia.

To purchase a shark attack pack or for more details, visit the International Paramedic College website.

Topics:  first aid northern rivers community northern rivers health northern rivers sharks paramedic shark attack shark bite



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