Transportation of casualties in fire service vehicles

1st February 2018

Dear Brother / Sister

Members will be aware of the pressures that the NHS and YAS are currently under. When demand levels are at their highest WYFRS are notified and have issued guidance on the transportation of casualties (OPID 15.16 issued 5th May 2016).

Following a recent incident in WY where a crew transported a casualty on a long board in the back of a fire appliance WYFBU raised concerns with management about the legality of such a practice and also the wider issue of transporting any casualty in a fire appliance.

Due to the fact we are aware of the levels of demand placed on ambulance crews, and by the simple fact we have encountered instances where members of the public have been transported to A&E departments this is what is known as a foreseeable event. Under the H&S at Work act and the Management of H&S at work regulations an employer is legally bound to risk assess any such activity. Despite the fact the OPID was issued in 2016 no risk assessment has been carried out to date and therefore have failed to reasonably assess the risk to our members and the public.

Furthermore, questions have been asked about insurance and liability. Again clarification on this issue is only just being sought by WYFRS despite repeated issuing of OPID 15.16 when notification is received from YAS of high demand levels. To date there has been no confirmation from the underwriters themselves that this type of event is covered under our existing insurance policy. We have however received correspondences from Kirklees which states that WYFRS ‘should’ be insured subject to relevant risk assessments being carried out. As previously stated this work has not currently been done and WYFBU will work to ensure that a full and comprehensive risk assessment is completed as soon as practical.

This does leave us in a position whereby, on the current advice received, ‘WYFRS IS NOT INSURED TO TRANSPORT ANY CASUALTY ON A FRONT LINE APPLIANCE’. Following the brigade committee today WYFBU have reached a unanimous agreement to inform our members that this is the current situation.

The FBU must, in the course of its duties, ensure that when our members are resolving incidents on behalf of WYFRS they are fully covered and not operating outside of any laws or legislation. At the time of issuing this advice to members we cannot guarantee that, should a decision be made to transport a casualty to A&E, that this is the case and therefore have no option but to advise against this practice until such time that confirmation is gained that full protection is in place. Once this has been clarified we will issue a further statement.

If you have any questions on this matter please contact your local FBU rep.

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