Specialised shark kits will be on stand-by when the Byron Bay Boardriders paddle out tomorrow.
Specialised shark kits will be on stand-by when the Byron Bay Boardriders paddle out tomorrow. NSW DPI

Military-style shark first aid kits on stand-by for surfers

MILITARY style first-aid kits based on those used by soldiers in Iraq will be on hand in case of shark attacks when the Byron Bay Boardriders paddle out at Cosy Corner at Tallows Beach where a former club member was killed by a shark 34 years ago.

The kits comprise a tourniquet and highly absorbent bandage which are similar to those used by emergency services personnel and was sourced with the assistance of Dr Blake Eddington, head of the emergency medicine and training program based in Byron Bay and Merwillambah hospitals.

Dr Eddington, 46, said the kits were partially funded by the Australian College of Emergency Specialists.

He said the shark first aid kit is essentially two items.

"They are a haemorrhage control kit which comprises of two military grade tourniquets identical to the tourniquet used by the helicopter rescue teams and an Israeli bandage," he said.

"The bandage is absorbent, clots and compresses for non-limb injuries."

Dr Eddington said he was approached by BBB club president Neil Cameron, who was concerned about responding to shark injuries.

"We probaby see abput two shark injuries a year at Byron Bay," he said.

"Neil said we need something to stop bleeding, easy to use and pragmatic."

First-hand experience with injuries caused by sharks is nothing new for Dr Eddington.

"I was on site when a Paul Cox died at Clarke's Beach in 2014," he said.

"It would be great if everyone carried them (kits) in their car."

Mr Cameron, 60, there will be two kits, one at each end of the beach during the competition.

"We will expect between 80 and 100 surfers and the seniors will be surfing one bank and the juniors another," he said.

"They can be 50 to 70 metres apart so we will have the tourniquets at both banks it saves running that distance if you need respond at Cosy Corner at Tallows, which is where one of the club members died some years"

Mr Cameron said the kits were essential to help with the club's duty of care.

"As president of the club I have a responsibility to protect the members," he said.

"We have a council reluctant to put in tried and proven methods such as nets and drumlines, it's adding enormous stress to the surfing population."

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