OPINION: Firefighters provide vital care at accident scenes - Harrogate firefighter Kirsty Shepherd

Managing Glass, Managing Glass Now, Cutting, Cutting Now... these are words you will hopefully never hear spoken. These are the words command firefighters use when cutting people from a vehicle following a crash.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 31st March 2022, 2:03 pm
Representing Pateley Bridge at Buckingham Palace  next  year - Kirsty Shepherd.
Representing Pateley Bridge at Buckingham Palace next year - Kirsty Shepherd.

With there being approximately 6,000 miles of roads in North Yorkshire, ‘Road Traffic Collisions’ is one of the main types of incidents North Yorkshire firefighters attend. Road Traffic Collisions (RTCs) is the term we use when describing car crashes.

At RTC’s we can help make the scene safe, we can give first aid and of course we have specialist equipment to help safely extricate casualties from a vehicle.

We work closely with the ambulance service to ensure the best care is given to all those involved. The police also help make the scene safe by closing off the road, directing traffic and if required, conduct investigations.

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So if you ever come across a serious Road Traffic Collision where someone is hurt, make sure you ask for the ambulance, fire and police to attend when you dial 999. It’s also worth noting that depending on the location of the incident, the fire service can sometimes be the first emergency service at the scene and can provide vital care until the arrival of the ambulance.

Speaking of location, if you are in a remote area or not sure where you are, there is a free app you can download onto your smartphone called What3Words. The app gives you a unique combination of three words which helps emergency services find your location. Download the app now.

Not only do the fire service help people at Road Traffic Collisions, but we also try and spread road safety information - to help prevent incidents from happening in the first place. North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service is part of the ‘York and North Yorkshire Road Safety Partnership’ whose aim is to lower the number of road casualties across the county of North Yorkshire. On their website, www.roadwise.co.uk there is a wealth of free useful information for young drivers, older drivers, bikers, cyclists as well as downloadable resources for schools.

They also cover the main causes of serious injuries and deaths - the ‘Fatal 5’. These include speeding, drink/drug driving, not using a seatbelt, mobile phone/distractions and careless driving.

Remember: speed is one of the main factors in fatal road accidents, drivers and passengers who fail to wear seatbelts are breaking the law and could be fined up to £500, and you are twice as likely to die in a road accident if you are not wearing a seatbelt. Driving at twice the legal alcohol limit means you are at least 50 times more likely to cause a road crash than a driver who hasn’t been drinking, and if you are caught drink driving you will be banned from the road for at least 12 months and fined up to £5,000.

Finally, did you know there has been a recent change in law which toughens the rules around mobile phone use behind the wheel? As of March 25, anyone caught using their hand-held device while driving will face a £200 fixed penalty notice and six points on their licence.

The law change is required to deter use of mobile phones as research has shown that drivers are four times more likely to crash if using their phone whilst behind the wheel - even careful drivers can be distracted by taking a call or reading a text.

Drivers will still be able to continue using a device ‘hands-free’ while driving, such as a satnav, if it’s secured in a cradle.

If you would like to learn more or wish the fire service to give a talk on road safety at a school, please go to the North Yorkshire Fire website at www.northyorksfire.gov.uk