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Airborne medics learn casualty extraction skills

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Airborne medics have been learning how a fire brigade extracts casualties from damaged vehicles in preparation for Exercise Askari Serpent.

Members of 16 Medical Regiment practise car-cutting at Merville Barracks, Colchester [Picture: Crown copyright]
Members of 16 Medical Regiment practise car-cutting

Essex County Fire and Rescue Service’s Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) team gave a car-cutting demonstration to 16 Medical Regiment at Colchester’s Merville Barracks.

Using scrap vehicles, the firefighters demonstrated how to safely cut casualties out of a vehicle after a road traffic collision and then let the troops practise themselves with hydraulic cutting equipment.

The training was designed to improve the medics’ knowledge of how civilian emergency services operate and to prepare them for an upcoming exercise in Kenya.

In August, medics will deploy on Exercise Askari Serpent, which includes a 2-week-long expedition to provide immunisation, primary healthcare and dental and veterinary care to villagers living in remote communities.

Clinical training officer Captain Huw Jones said:

Askari Serpent will put our medics out in inaccessible areas of Kenya and it is important that they are self-reliant. Road safety is very poor in Kenya and road traffic collisions are the biggest cause of injuries to troops.

This lesson has taught our medics basic techniques to deal with damaged vehicles, ensuring they are able to work safely to extract and treat casualties. I would like to thank Essex County Fire and Rescue Service for their time, equipment and expertise.

Combat medical technician Lance Corporal Simon Tooke said:

Using cutting equipment to break up cars has been enjoyable, but there’s been a serious purpose. It’s useful to learn how firefighters approach a damaged vehicle to make it stable and safe.

I’m looking forward to Kenya and getting out into the depths of the countryside to use our medical skills to help the local people.

The training builds on the strong relationship between the fire service and 16 Medical Regiment. The medics have also practised treating casualties in confined conditions in a simulated collapsed building.

USAR Station Commander Terry Jewell said:

As firefighters we’re more than happy to share our skills and facilities with the Army and this lesson has provided an overview of what we do at road traffic collisions to deal with casualties in damaged vehicles.

Our skills and equipment are the gold standard and the soldiers can adapt what we’ve demonstrated to their way of working and kit.

16 Medical Regiment’s role is to provide medical support to 16 Air Assault Brigade, which maintains a force ready to deploy anywhere in the world at short notice to do anything from disaster relief to war-fighting.

The regiment’s Airborne Surgical Group provides accident and emergency, x-ray, surgical table and intensive treatment facilities and is manned by anaesthetists, surgeons and other specialist medics, many of whom are parachute-qualified.

It can also deploy with a primary healthcare node, which includes a GP and dentist.

Published 12 July 2013