Imagine if five Boeing 747 jets full of people crashed every day of the year killing everybody on board – Do you think you would hear about it on the news?

That’s equates to around the same number of people killed (1.2 million) on the roads every year around the world and this figure does not include to further ‘50 million’ who are injured. This figure is expected to rise to 1.4 million deaths by the year 2030.

In addition to the grief and suffering they cause, road traffic collisions constitute an important public health and development problem with significant health and socioeconomic costs. Considerable economic losses are not only incurred by victims and their families, but also by organisations and nations as a whole: road crashes cost most countries 1–3% of their gross national product.

It is believed that organisations across the globe can make a significant contribution in reducing the impact of these incidents by providing training in both their medical and vehicle rescue capabilities to key staff and locations.

In addition, as well as ensuring your staff, guests and clients are protected in the event of an emergency these added skills could also contribute to the local emergency response arrangements in remote locations and therefore assist in building positive local relationships in the surrounding communities.

‘Rescue just got personal and portable’

For many years it was only possible to have a sufficient rescue capability if you had a large hydraulic generator, hydraulic hoses and large heavy rescue tools. This meant that it was not realistically possible to provide a portable rescue provision.

However, advancements in hydraulic tool design and the advances in battery technology now mean that it is possible to produce tools capable of in excess of 50 tonnes of cutting and spreading forces that can now be combined into smaller and lighter tools without the need for generators or hoses. As a result it is now possible to have a state of the art rescue capability in your car which will allow you to have an immediate rescue intervention on the scene of any accident or incident.

There is now a wide range of small powerful rescue tools which will permit rescue operations and greatly increase survivability rates by allowing rapid extrication of injured casualties whatever your location. These tools and associated training will be particularly useful to the following sectors:

  • Security & Close Protection teams
  • Corporate Risk Management
  • Military units & Special Forces
  • Counter Terrorism teams
  • Emergency Responders
  • Transportation of goods in remote locations

However, in relation to using these tools it is vitally important that they are used in the correct manner and that personnel are familiar with the wide multitude of techniques employed during rescue operations. Failure to do so could result in damage to the tools or even worse – Injury to the users!

Managing Corporate Risk

Many corporations around the world work in remote environments and in countries with poor road infrastructure. Due to their locations it is often necessary to travel long distances on dangerous roads which is due to the driving standards of other road users, weather conditions and also poorly maintained roads.

As part of their corporate risk assessments companies often overlook that one of the biggest risks to their personnel and visiting guests is the journey from point of arrival to their final destination or whilst visiting sites around a country.

In the event of a vehicle incident in many areas of the world it is highly unlikely that there will be any type of rescue services in close vicinity to your vehicle incident and occupiers of vehicles could be trapped and injured for extremely long periods of time before any assistance arrives (if at all) and therefore it is vitally important to have an onboard capability to carry out basic rescue interventions and provide lifesaving emergency medical equipment. Rescue options can range from having a single battery powered hydraulic combination tool in the rear of the vehicle to having a fully equipped support vehicle attached to your convoy.

More importantly however is having personnel who are both medically and technically trained in the event of an emergency and who are capable of rescuing and maintaining life until further support arrives.

Security and Close Protection

For many years colleagues of ours in the close protection industry and military have said to us that what is really needed whilst transporting their clients and personnel is the ability to carry out an emergency rescue immediately following a vehicle incident whether it is accidental or a deliberate attack on their vehicles, which, may even be armored presenting even further rescue difficulties.

It must be remembered that whilst in the UK we are fortunate enough to have some of the best emergency and rescue services in the world but this is not the case in many parts of the world. If you are lucky enough to get a local service it is likely that is not carrying equipment that is capable of carrying out a rescue from a modern vehicle with modern construction techniques.

All of these factors greatly reduce the chances of survival following a vehicle incident especially when time is of the essence. After all you cannot effectively treat a casualty unless you can get them out of the vehicle!

Security and Close Protection teams are also responsible for ensuring safety of their clients and as a result should be prepared for all eventualities. Clients of protection teams will certainly be reassured that your teams carry rescue tools and are effectively trained to use them during an emergency which also provides a further reason why their services should be employed to protect their clients.

Combined approach to Rescue.

The way to view rescue provision is to consider this; it has an equal weighting in relation to the problem. This means that ideally the methodology is fifty percent technical/physical rescue and fifty percent medical rescue. These two ideally work harmoniously with each other, to simply save life in the context of a vehicle accident. Of course, additional dynamics like the severity of the incident, geographical location and time of day are all factors that can affect the problem. It must be borne in mind however, even with the odds stacked against you having a technical rescue capability and a medical capability is not to be underestimated. There are many examples where this technical/medical capability has not existed, and life has been lost. We can’t undo what is done, but we can adapt, prepare and be ready to react and respond better next time. Why wait for tragedy if you can play a part in reducing it.

Consider your team travelling in a vehicle in a location that is remote or has limited local rescue capability compared to UK. A vehicle accident occurs, consider then if within that team or a following vehicle – there is the capability to proactively react and carry out effective rescue operations and medical interventions. You have literally got UK FRS capability in the boot of a vehicle, what is key is the capability to use it to its full potency. That goes some way towards what we aim to achieve for clients, organizations and other services where a clear benefit and need is identified. This is only one example, benefits and potential are huge and the approach can be titrated and multifaceted to wide raging needs.

The medical aspects are vital. Consider travelling in areas or locations where medical response is poor, non-existent, ill equipped or just too far away from where an incident has occurred. Simply the option to dial the emergency services and know a response will attend is not an option in many places around the world. A solution is to be self-sufficient, skilled, equipped and able to help yourselves or your team/colleagues. Our medical methodology is borne out of military experience, humanitarian experience, professional rescue experience and exposure gained from operational functionality over a prolonged period. This methodology works, it gets results it can make a difference meaning it can save life. Our approaches to trauma and injury are evidence based, proven and honed even from extreme environments like on the battlefield. They are taught in an assertive and disciplined sense to deal with problems in order of severity, often from lessons learned in those extreme environments. If it works in those environments, often hours away from definitive care then it can work anywhere.

Neil Pedersen
Founder and Business director
International Road Rescue and Trauma Consultancy ltd – “IRRTC”

The article was first published in the RISK UK Magazine. Click here to see the full editorial spread on pages 48-49.

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