by John Robertson
On Saturday 15th March there was an all day session on Road Crash Rescue for RFB’s held at Jimboomba. The presenter was Ian Taylor from Canungra Auxiliaries and ex-Navy. Ian exuded competence and capability and, if you were ever in a bad road accident, would be the ideal guy to have as your rescuer. The mission in all RCR’s is that the victims will be in no worse or better a state after the rescue than before. Participation by Rural firies in RCR is entirely voluntary at all stages and, when we do volunteer, our work is in a support role helping the front line guys in whatever way they ask.
23 people attended with most being in their twenties or teens but with a few oldies – Robbo being one. The morning session took us through the excellent QFRS booklet on RAR (RCR was called Road Accident Rescue till recently) with many practical insights from Ian. Some of these; for the Canungra Auxiliaries RCR accounts for 63% of all call outs; the importance of a thorough initial search of the area for anyone who may have been thrown from the vehicle; the value of touch, holding hands, to comfort victims pending rescue; the need for the utmost care and discretion when speaking on the radio about a road crash; before using cutting tools always try door handles and hood catches – they may still work even in badly damaged vehicles; beware of undeployed air bags – you may set them off at just the wrong moment. He mentioned that 8% of the population has a senior first aid certificate and said that figure should be nearer 58%. Ian greatly admires the work done by everyone in QAS. We had a superior ‘smoko’ (scones with jam and cream) and a good lunch.
The afternoon was a practical demonstration of RCR by Jimboomba Auxiliaries led by John Weir and using the rescue kit in their latest 900 series truck. A donated and perfectly serviceable Mazda 626 hatchback was the accident subject. The first move in all road rescues is to stabilise the vehicle. This may range from roping it to hold it from sliding down a gully to making sure that it stays level and stationary on the road so that a victim with, say, spinal damage is not further harmed during the rescue process. Basic stabilisation consists of putting big wooden chocks under the body of the vehicle on both sides and at front and back. The first scenario was that QAS had asked for the victim(s) to be extracted from the rear of the vehicle because both sides were obstructed. The team set to with the hydraulic tools and cut the roof off including the rear hatch. This required the windscreen to be cut and this was done with a hand tool after liberally applying shaving cream to the cutting line to catch glass particles. The next task was to extract badly hurt victims from the side of the car. The hydraulic tools were again used to cut off the doors and the B-pillar so as to give a clear exit. The final problem was a head-on where the front seat occupants had ‘submarined’ below the dash. This required the front of the car to be bent forward relative to the body. Sections were cut out at the bottom of the A-pillar and a jack then used to push the whole dash forwards to release the trapped victims. It worked exactly according to plan. The day ended with a hearty vote of thenks to Ian and to John and his rescue team.