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Driver First Assist to offer first aid accident training

It’s one of the situations every driver dreads. You are cruising down the motorway and then you come upon a serious accident scene. The emergency services have yet to arrive. What do you do? Drive past? Call 999? Stop to help? Few people have the confidence to offer useful help if they are first on the scene of an accident but many would want to if they felt able.

It’s one of the situations every driver dreads. You are cruising down the motorway and then you come upon a serious accident scene. The emergency services have yet to arrive. What do you do? Drive past? Call 999? Stop to help? Few people have the confidence to offer useful help if they are first on the scene of an accident but many would want to if they felt able. These first few moments are vital, too, because medics say that almost half of road traffic accident fatalities could be avoided if the right first aid was administered. The new Driver First Assist (DFA) scheme is set to tackle this issue.

We have all seen the stories involving well-meaning members of the public who were brave enough to stop to help in such circumstances but were unprepared and ended up becoming a casualty themselves. DFA intends to equip both professional and private motorists with the required knowledge to make sure that this doesn’t happen and that effective help can be given. The scheme has impressive backers in the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives, Association of Chief Police Officers, the senior Traffic Commissioner for Great Britain and the Chief Fire Officers' Association. It will be run as a not-for-profit community interest company.

Motorists need to take a one day course to become a member of the DFA. The objective of the course is to provide attendees with both the confidence and tools to assess a crash scene and administer proper first aid to stabilise victims before the arrival of professional help from the emergency services. The DFA is initially targeting professional drivers such as coach and lorry drivers but any driver can apply for a place on the course. The scheme aims to have 60,000 trained drivers on the road to make a real impact in reducing fatalities.

The classroom-based training covers a whole range of skills. Attendees will be trained how to understand motorway position indicators, in order to give accurate information to emergency services. The DFA says that delays in response often happen because members of the public do not know how to read these signs that run along the hard shoulders of motorways. They will also be taught to identify Hazchem warnings on trucks and how to position their own vehicle to protect the scene. The course then goes on to teach the principles of basic first aid. If successful, the DFA could be a welcome addition to road safety.

 

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