Dozens of hunters, both male and female, descended on the DES Club in Gloucester on Friday for some important life-saving advice.
The day-long training, conducted by Massachusetts Hunting Partnership Support Services, brought together hunters from Cape Ann and beyond to learn about CPR, first aid and the proper use of Narcan in the event of drug overdoses.
The training aims to teach life-saving skills to evaluate and treat injured or sick crew members on board fishing vessels at sea before emergency personnel arrive at the scene.
John Roberts, director of the nonprofit Hunting Partnership’s safety training program, said the training provided is essential.
“It’s very important,” Roberts said Friday. “The fishermen know that they will be here for six to seven hours to learn these skills. This training gives them the skills to save lives.
Roberts said volunteers in the program worked hard to spread the word about the training, sending emails, text messages and speaking to many hunters.
Seaventure’s Jim Beauvais of Rockport said training is needed for commercial fishermen like him. Buffet leads the First Lady.
“It’s great,” he said. “The class covers everything you need to know. They’re great.”
The training began with coffee and pastries at 8:30 a.m. Friday and continued until about 3 p.m
Event organizer Nina Gruppo said the safety training was primarily aimed at hunters.
“It’s mainly for them, but the skills that are learned can be very important for everyone,” Grubaugh said. “Obviously we are doing this for the fishermen but also for the community as a whole. It is a big and important thing. Everyone should know this, especially the fishermen.”
Gloucester fisherman David O’Brien has his own lobster boat. He was sitting with a group of young hunters, both male and female, at the gathering.
O’Brien said the training eventually became intuitive.
“I think it’s very helpful,” he said. “When you learn (these skills), you don’t have to worry about it as much. They offer a great program.”
Marcus Martin, 19, from Gloucester, said the life-saving skills learned during the training could be used if needed.
“You gain knowledge when you’re miles and miles offshore,” Martin said.
Massachusetts Hunting Partnership Support Services is headquartered in New Bedford with offices in Gloucester, Chatham and Plymouth.
Roberts, a former commanding officer at Coast Guard Station Gloucester, said the organization is committed to improving the health, safety and economic stability of fishermen, their families and communities.
The program is “designed by hunters for hunters,” he said.
Program leaders provided instruction on patient assessments, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, medical evacuation procedures, assessment of traumatic injuries, treatment of hypothermia, and proper wound care.
In addition, instructions on the proper use of automated external defibrillators (AEDs) were provided. AEDs are medical devices designed to analyze the heart’s rhythm and deliver an electric shock to victims to return the rhythm to normal.
The class also covered Narcan administration in opioid overdoses.
“We also give them the tools they need through first aid kits,” Roberts said.
During the course, fishermen who met Coast Guard requirements and became certified in adult first aid and use of AEDs received a free first aid kit designated for fishing vessels.
Stephen Hagan can be reached at 978-675-2708 or firstname.lastname@example.org.