New coastguard rules could cost lives

PUBLISHED: 08:41 28 January 2009 | UPDATED: 22:56 15 June 2010

A LYME Regis coastguard fears new regulations to fill out health and safety forms before responding to any emergencies could cost lives".

A LYME Regis coastguard fears new regulations to fill out health and safety forms before responding to any emergencies could "cost lives".Rescue teams across the country have been told by their Maritime and Coastguard Agency superiors they must complete pre-journey risk assessments.But one coastguard, who does not wish to be named, says minutes are crucial in life and death situations.He said: "The amount of paperwork is ridiculous before we can go out on a call out, and it's not necessary. In some cases, if we didn't get to the scene within a five minute period, it could be disastrous."It could mean life or death for somebody stuck in the mud. It could cost lives. "But we won't put the public at risk because, if life was at stake, we would attend with great care one way or another."The forms require the 'reason for journey' and for the lead rescuer to list any risks they may face, including the current and forecast weather conditions.The news comes after the recent phasing out of flares - which some consider vital equipment - on health and safety grounds.The coastguard continued: "We are trying to prove that we need them, especially when we work in conjunction with the lifeboats and we can illuminate an area. We only need a couple a year, but without them we could find ourselves in trouble.

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