First Responders on scene must look after themselves!

First Responders on scene must look after themselves!

We hear a lot about the Mental toll a Critical Incident can have on us, and that is something we MUST keep in mind both during, at the conclusion of the event and following. However, we must look after ourselves physically at the time of incident also.

I’m talking about Manual Handling. Many of us will have done some form of Manual Handling training if our job requires lifting or moving items or equipment. But when an incident happens and we need to assist someone who may be less than mobile themselves, we often put ourselves in harms way. And injuring your back, knee or some other part of the body can have long term consequences for you.

So a couple of quick points to consider:

Number 1 – How much can the patient do for themselves? Ask them, “What can you do?” For example, Can they take their weight on one leg? That will greatly reduce the load to you.

Number 2 – If you do have to pick someone up or carry them in anyway shape or form (either on your own or more than one person lifting) take a second to get yourself set in a ‘strong’ position. Bums close to the round and straight backs for the lift. It only takes a fraction of time to accomplish the correct lifting technique, but may save you years of discomfort!

Number 3 – What mechanical aids can you bring to the process (if you have time)? Can’t walk? Can we wait for the stretcher to arrive? Need to moved to the vehicle 150 metres away? What can we utilise to make a supportive, safe lifting device that doesn’t twist your back or put undue pressure on your knees?

Without a doubt the best piece of equipment will always be something that was designed to do that particular task. So it’s good when you see/find a product that can be deployed in very common situations for a range of injuries.

I have come across one such piece of equipment recently. I like it because it is easy to use, can be used in heaps of different circumstances and is readily accessible when needed.

The Fleetseat allows 2 people to carry a patient in the old ‘Firemans Chair’ style of lift without any of the manually handling issues of twisting backs and having the load supported by the shoulders and arms only. It distribute the weight across shoulders with straight backs and has 2 grab handles per responder to further support the patient and spread the load.

I think it is a Manual Handling no brainer!

If you would like more information about this topic or product or any others, purchase any First Aid stock or equipment, or to book a Remote Area First Aid course, please contact us on 0491 057 339 or email

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