Airborne Medics Learn from Fire Fighters

Airborne medics have learnt the techniques used by fire fighters to extract casualties from damaged vehicles.

Essex County Fire and Rescue Service’s Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) team gave a car cutting demonstration to 16 Med Regt at Colchester’s Merville Barracks. Using scrap vehicles, the fire fighters demonstrated how they would safely cut casualties out of a vehicle after a road traffic collision (RTC) and then let the troops practise themselves with hydraulic cutting equipment.

The training was designed to improve the medics’ knowledge of how civilian emergency services operate. This was to prepare 19 Med Sqn for their deployment on Ex Askari Serpent, which includes a two-week-long expedition to provide immunisation, primary health care, dental and veterinary care to villagers living in remote communities.

Clinical training officer Capt Huw Jones said: “Askari Serpent will put our medics out in inaccessible areas of Kenya and it is important that they are self-reliant. Road safety is very poor and road traffic collisions are the biggest cause of injuries to troops. This lesson has taught our medics basic techniques to deal with damaged vehicles, ensuring they are able to work safely to extract and treat casualties. I would like to thank Essex County Fire and Rescue Service for their time, equipment and expertise.”

Combat medical technician L/Cpl Simon Tooke, said: “Using cutting equipment to break up cars has been enjoyable, but there’s been a serious purpose. It’s useful to learn how fire fighters approach a damaged vehicle to make it stable and safe. I’m looking forward to Kenya and getting out into the depths of the countryside to use our medical skills to help the local people.”

The training builds on a strong relationship between the fire service and 16 Med Regt. Medics have practised treating casualties in confined conditions in a simulated collapsed building at the USAR station on Lexden Road, Colchester. USAR Station Commander Terry Jewell said: “As fire fighters we’re more than happy to share our skills and facilities with the Army and this lesson has provided an overview of what we do at RTCs to deal with casualties in damaged vehicles. Our skills and equipment are the gold standard and the soldiers can adapt what we’ve demonstrated to their way of working and kit.”

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