Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Biker Down, hopefully not!

I have done a lot of first aid training over the years, St John's, Red Cross, Diver Medic, Life Support Tech.  Outside of basic first aid I had never thought about dealing with a motorcycle casualty, so I though I better look into it a bit more.  The best medical training I ever had was the diver medic course as it was given by Paramedics and hyperbaric specialists, in other words people who put the theory into practice every day.
Biker Down is delivered by the local Fire Service and the presenters are all riders themselves.  So, like the diver medic training, who better to deliver specific training than the people who pick up the pieces for a living.
Meeting at the RNLI station at South Queensferry the half day course starts in the classroom with introductions, a brief history Biker Down and the aims of the day.  The slide show then provides prompts for further discussion about dealing with motorcycle casualties.  Presentations around what to do on discovering an accident, managing the scene, dealing with casualties and basic first aid for everyone involved in the incident.  These presentations are a two way street and the presenters are always looking to get the audience involved, not difficult when there is passion for the subject on both sides.  Not only was accident management covered, but sessions on accident avoidance and strategies for staying out of trouble were informative and thought provoking.  Towards the end of the first half of the morning, one of the presenters recounted a low speed incident that her husband and herself had been involved in and the following months of recovery.  One practical thing that came from this was if the pillion footpegs are down on a crashed bike, chances are there will be a passenger somewhere in the vicinity...
After the theory, things move on to more practical things - basic CPR and how to remove a crash helmet.
Three Resusci Annie mannequins await us on the floor of the lifeboat shed ready to run through basic airway management, chest compressions and rescue breaths.  Everyone had a chance to have a go and I recommend you do, it is harder work than you think!
After failing to save any of the mannequins, we then try to do better with helmet removal.  After a brief talk about helmet and buckle types a 'casualty' has their helmet removed along with full commentary on how to go about it.  How to move the casualty, if required, into a position to remove the helmet and how to stabilise the casualty after removing the helmet was also covered.  The concept of a snatch rescue of a casualty in a position of imminent danger naturally followed helmet removal.  As I said at the start of this piece, the course is delivered by firefighters and as they deal with the subject matter in the real world on a regular basis the training is more pragmatic than a first aid course.  I came away feeling more confident in my ability to help at the scene of a motorcycle incident.
Combined with a good first aid course, Bike Down should equip most riders with the skills to help their fellow riders and I would recommend Biker Down to anyone who rides.