SMEAC Safety In The Tampa Bay Frogman Swim

SMEAC Safety In The Tampa Bay Frogman Swim

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Rory O’Connor is the Race Director for the Tampa Bay Frogman Swim, a 3.1-mile swim in January to support injured Navy SEALs. Based on the SMEAC (Situation-Mission-Execution-Administration-Command) concept, he uses his experience as a former Navy SEAL and platoon corpsman to provide for the safety of his colleagues in the water:

Situation – identify what the emergency is with the people on scene for communication purposes to EMS responders/receivers.

Mission – create a ‘readiness’ on-site contingency that has the sole purpose of handling/transporting/or preparing for transport the emergency. “You should ideally have a fast, stable boat that has the exclusive purpose of transporting the patient. This boat should not be used to collect bouys or serve as an alternate for any other purpose, and ideally with a medical doctor or a registered nurse who is trauma certified.”

Execution – have a pre-race brief to discuss exactly who, what, where, when and how the emergency response will be executed. The race director, medical doctor, registered nurse and EMTs should be in attendance as well as anyone driving boats or vehicles. An abbreviated version of this ‘execution’ should be communicated to participants and other support (e.g., kayakers).

Administration – a key step; review with on-scene medical personnel what resources will be used; what hospital/s, clinics, EMS services (district/municipalities) will be involved. Have a site identified, and confirmed for pick up: land or otherwise for Helicopter transport, obviously this should be centrally located and communicated as often as possible. This is also the area to consider what equipment is necessary, and who is responsible for the equipment.

Command/Control: is communication. “You cannot over-communicate; have a dedicated channel for radio communications, but have two-way radios as back-up and mobile phones as secondary back-up. Establish a primary backup method which will likely be mobile phone unless you’re in a poorly covered area, which should be checked before race day. “You should review communications procedures and signals with the swimmers, kayakers and boat drivers. Place these procedures on your website, informational flyers, and review in your pre-race briefing. Additionally, have procedures, contacts, agreed upon rallying points all printed (with a map) on one laminated sheet for all key personnel, medical, and boat drivers/car drivers. Check and recheck that local medical EMT services and facilities are aware of your event’s time, and document that you have done so.”

Copyright © 2011 by World Open Water Swimming Association
Steven Munatones