Thursday, 12 June 2014

Accident to Disaster in 6 simple steps!

How to  muck it up

1 Have a flat battery on your phone, or no network service
2 Fail to call the ambulance or be slow/late calling them
3  Don't get any one to help, just struggle on, on your own while your colleagues watch
4  Stand and watch your friends broken arm slowly bend, whilst he struggles to breath
5  Can't concentrate or hear because people are still sawing close by
6  Have people standing around not doing anything, while everyone gets cold

Disastrous first aid or first aid for disasters  - where are you?

We are atrocious at communication
There are more studies then we can shake a stick to say how poor we are at calling for help. The Ambulance services spend a huge amount of time and effort trying to dissuade us from using them. When it comes to an emergency, people hesitate to dial 999/112. The majority of simple first aid incidents we will sort out without complication. However, the boundary between simple and cockup is vanishingly small!

Have effective communication system
Make sure when you leave for work your phone is fully charged, have you got a network where you are working. That is less important for the initial 112 call as your phone can cross network dial, however you will not be able to get a call back from them, I have an old phone will a payg EE sim in it for the odd time when I need to speak to WMAS and I have no network. 

Call the ambulance service/fire & rescue early.
If you panic and call them early, then later discover that you have overreacted, ring them back and stand them down! Not a problem, someone bleeding and you not stopping it is a very big problem! If the situation changes, ring them back and tell them.

Get colleagues to help early,
Get all your team involved. There is plenty to do. Someone to meet the ambulance, keeping the patient warm, sorting out evacuation etc.

We become fixated on one issue
We are often overwhelmed by the situation and obsess over one thing.
People see blood and panic, or see a broken arm and panic. We see the first part and then stop looking, we frequently see this people in all walks of life, we miss obvious things (including doctors) because we are overwhelmed by the circumstances. If we have been injured in one place on our bodies, why not anywhere else. Have a damn good look.

We are overwhelmed by noise/alarms/people.
Turn the saws off!!!!! Noise is extremely distracting. I frequently go into peoples house and they still have their telly on, someone is dying, but the telly is still on! I turn it off.

Step back – check situation, is everthing happening that should be? If you are team leader, have you got it all going? someone on the phone, one or more doing first aid, access/egress, meeting the ambulance, keeping warm etc.

Delegate someone to be situationally aware. Last week I was dealing with a collapsed lady in the street. A bus touched my arm, I had not heard or seen it, scared me! I moved my car to close off the carriageway. The motorway is extremely dangerous, a number of people are killed every year just stepping onto the live carriageway. Trees and chainsaws will be the same, in the accident situation.

Distribute workload-

Crew resourse management, one person one job 

Each crew member carries out their specific role, tree surgeons are expert at this. Apply it to the emergency situation. We loose many of the above skills when overloaded with functions, therefore, one person needs to take overall charge and delegate, this avoids many of the above faults by checking that functions are being done. Move people around to stop them becoming tired.

You should have learned all about this on your first aid training course, I teach it on all of mine. We can be contacted at there are links there to other blogs, facebook etc.

Communication is vital – to the patient, to the team, to ambulance control!

By Martin Bennett
Director, Axiom Training Ltd

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