I.S.A.C. Course., Cheshire FRS, Winsford

Today Team Training Officer Elaine Gilliand, Equipment Officer Radios and Lighting Paul Brain and Trainee Team member John Fletcher, journeyed to Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service’s HQ and Training School at Sadler Road, Winsford, to take part in an Incident Safety Assessment and Control (ISAC) course, organised and facilitated by ATACC (Anaesthesia Trauma and Critical Care) and Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service.

This is the fourth time team members have participated in this excellent course, the first being 19th November 2009, when our Team Doctor, Clare Whitney and Steve Nelson attended, with the second being on 22nd April 2010, when our Team Leader Garry Rhodes MBE and Team Call Out list member (and Regional MR Water Officer) Fred Taylor attended, and the third when very experienced Team Call Out list member Chris Tennant and Trainee Team member Nick Berry attended on 15th July 2010.

Team Call Out list member Alistair Greenough, who in full time employment is an Accident and Emergency Nurse at Warrington Hospital, is an instructor on this excellent recognised course.

The ISAC course concentrates on incident scene safety, the safety of the emergency responders, increasing incident scene awareness and multi agency working.

Other students on the course included Former Bolton MRT Member Dr Becky Roberts, our friends and colleagues from Cheshire Search & Rescue Team, Cheshire Fire & Rescue Service personnel, as well as a number of nurses, doctors and healthcare professionals from across the region.

The day started with course instructor Mark Forest outlining what to expect on the day, which was concerned with raising awareness of hazards when attending incidents, taking a full 360 degree view of the scene.

Geoff Roberts, Her Majesty’s Assistant Deputy Coroner for Cheshire, brought to our attention the importance of safety and how this has made headlines recently. The order of importance is:

  1. Personal safety – look after yourself
  2. Team safety – look after the other members of your team
  3. Equipment safety – this is equipment the rescue relies on, either for personal, team or casualty safety, so needs looking after
  4. Finally casualty safety – once the first three items are considered safe, only then start worrying about the casualty

Next was Guy Hopley, an Accident & Investigation Officer for Cheshire Constabulary. He outlined the importance of scene safety in road traffic collisions, using vehicles to provide a protected space to work. He also gave the delegates a maths lesson in calculating the speed of a vehicle after a road traffic accident based on skid marks and the cars’ final positions.

The facilitators decided we had been in the warm classroom long enough so took everyone outside. All delegates were asked to wear the personal protective equipment they would normally wear. Our Mountain Rescue hi-vis vests, helmets and lighting were displayed against the nurses all-in-one orange jumpsuits, with each team’s equipment being appropriate to their likely working situation. Each team also demonstrated the equipment which is carried to a job. The Bolton Mountain Rescue team had taken one one of our Landrover Ambulances, BM4, so there was no shortage of equipment to demonstrate.

After lunch there were two series of round-robin exercises, with the emphasis being on safety awareness. Accessing an unlit, noisy garage and identifying the dangers which are present is difficult when somebody is screaming at you to help their injured friend!

The Fire Service also demonstrated how they take the roof off a car (and included a learning point for the fire team to remember to charge the cutting tools!) and to extract casualties with suspected spinal injuries from a vehicle.

The day was successful in promoting respect for the different emergency services. The health care professionals appreciated that if a casualty is presented to A&E in an untidy state, the rescue team may have had considerable difficulty in getting the casualty to the hospital in the first place.

Elaine, Paul and John would like to thank all the lecturers and helpers, and also their fellow emergency services colleagues on the course for welcoming them so openly. Thanks also to Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service for providing such excellent facilities; all Bolton MRT members found it a very enjoyable and highly informative day – despite the seasonal chill!

A special thanks also to Alistair Greenough in arranging and continuing to permit members of Bolton Mountain Rescue to attend this course.

Please also see website news articles dated 19th November 2009, 22nd April 2010, and 15th July 2010.