Incident 18/2016 – Walker fractures ankle, on Canal towpath at Prestolee, Bolton

At 15.43hrs this snowy afternoon, whilst still present at Incident 17/2016 at Whitefield, we were paged by NWAS (Cumbria and Lancashire) Broughton EOC, to respond to assist with an incident at Prestolee, Bolton.

A woman walker, aged 45, had fractured her ankle, whilst walking in the company of her husband, alongside the tow path of the now disused Bolton Bury Canal.

The call was answered at the scene of the previous incident, by team member Mike Marsh, who collected details and mobilised our response which saw team members responding from the still on going Incident 17 at Whitefield, to render assistance to the injured woman.

Our first arriving members were in our Incident Control Vehicle, and met at circa 16.06hrs with informants, including the injured woman’s husband, who guided team members Gillian Leigh, Tony Dawson and our Team Leader Garry Rhodes MBE to arrive at the incident scene.

Here other passing members of the public, including a first aider, had already started to tend to the injured woman, including placing her on a sledge to keep her out of the wet mud and snow on the towpath, whilst others had placed blankets around and on her to protect her from the cold.

With more members quickly arriving, pain relief including administering Entonox and drugs to relieve her pain and distress was undertaken, and her suspected and very painful ankle fracture was splinted.

By 16.45hrs our stretcher evacuation had commenced, with the injured woman being placed in to the responding NWAS Emergency Ambulance at 16.55hrs, and then onwards to Royal Bolton Hospital.

At 17.11hrs this incident was completed on scene.

It must be stated that the large amount of dog excrement on this section of canal towpath, made worse by mud and snow, carried a great contamination risk, and at the conclusion of this incident, our stretcher had to be thoroughly jet washed and scrubbed, with both of our casualty bags used on scene, having to be carefully washed.

Thanks are due to the many members of the local community who aided this woman, prior to and during our involvement.

This incident site was very close to the area of the Prestolee Boxing Day 2016 flooding incident we attended, and many of the members of the public present on scene, commented with thanks on our involvement at the flooding incident.

At the end of this incident, we returned, after completing three consecutive call outs, to our Ladybridge Hall Base / HQ to wash and clean our vehicles and equipment used on the three calls, this was hampered on this very wet and cold evening by a power cut that had effected our Base / HQ, and so we had to quickly improvise, something we seem very adept at doing! (Thanks to GMFRS Bolton Central Fire Station for letting us jet wash our stretcher, to Geoff Seddon and Garry Rhodes for taking home two very dirty contaminated casualty bags to be washed, and for other team members including Nigel Booth and Alistair Greenough, for putting back in to our vehicles team kit once it had dried)

The following resources were involved in this incident;

  • NWAS (Greater Manchester Area); EOC Parkway, Emergency Ambulance.
  • NWAS (Cumbria and Lancashire); EOC Broughton.
  • Bolton Mountain Rescue Team; Two Land Rover Defender Mountain Rescue Ambulances, Volkswagen Sprinter Incident Control Vehicle, seventeen team operational members on scene.