Superintendent (SP) Cheung Mei-hon of Small Boat Division (SBDIV) has announced that Marine Region's Maritime Emergency Response Team (MERT) is now in a position to provide Tactical Operational Medical Support (TOMS) to the seafaring community.
Speaking at presentation of TOMS certificates on May 23, SP Cheung pointed out that the MERT is the first unit in Marine Region to receive sophisticated medical training provided by the Hospital Authority (HA).
The Training Coordinator in the Accident & Emergency Department of HA, Mr Jacky Chan, and SBDIV Station Sergeant (Tactical Training) Poon Fok-chiu collaborated to design TOMS training, which aims at providing Marine Police Officers with the capability and competency to offer immediate and advanced medical services to victims of maritime emergencies or major disasters. The services include tactical combat casualty care, pre-hospital trauma care and resuscitation techniques.
Six MERT officers were presented with TOMS certificates by guests from the Hospital Authority.
SP Cheung further pointed out that Marine Region in the past had no designated unit that was capable of providing at sea the emergency response that Emergency Unit (EU) is providing on land. To address this situation and develops a unit capable of providing such service in a maritime context, SBDIV, given its mobility, versatility and operational effectiveness, was appointed to take on emergency response duties. Subsequently, the MERT came into being in January this year.
Besides Tactical Operational Medical Support, the MERT will provide an array of enhanced services, underling Marine Region's determination to offer dedicated and comprehensive services to the seafaring community.
In his speech, SP Cheung quoted a recent example of how MERT officers applied their newly acquired skills in an emergency. In March this year, they rescued a semi-conscious woman from the sea off Sam Ka Tsuen. Taken onboard a Police vessel, she was diagnosed with symptoms of hypothermia and low blood oxygen level. Using their TOMS knowledge, the officers administered oxygen to the victim and treated her other symptoms. The woman's condition was eventually stabilised before being taken to the nearest pier for transfer to an ambulance for further treatment in hospital.
SP Cheung concluded that the example demonstrated how essential it is to provide the right medical services in the right place and at the right time because in a life-threatening situation every second counts.
Establishment of the MERT and its ability to provide Tactical Operational Medical Support services at sea mark a new era for Marine Region and further enhance the Force's maritime emergency response capability.