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The Role of the Fire Service

By: Tracy Whitelaw - Updated: 4 Mar 2016 | comments*Discuss
Role Of The Fire Service In A Road

The role of the fire service in road traffic accidents can be extremely varied. As with their general duties, they are required to be able to deal with a variety of situations and are equipped for different scenarios.

Generally of course the fire service deal with fires, but often they are requested to deal with a number of 'special services'. These would include people being trapped someplace, floods, body recovery, animals being trapped, spillage and of course traffic accidents. Most fire services have two different types of fire engine.

One of the engines, known as a Rescue Water Tender Ladder (RWrL), is most commonly used at the scene of a road traffic accident as it has specialist equipment to deal with incidents where people may be trapped or need to be cut or lifted out of wreckage. The other is the 'every day' engine known as a Water Tender Ladder (WrL).

Straight Forward Actions for Fire Fighters

When the fire service are called to the scene of an accident, it may be for a relatively straight forward procedure. Their advice may be sought on how best to move a vehicle without posing a fire threat, or they may simply be asked to help make the site safe so that there are no further concerns over injury or possible fire outbreaks.

In these cases, often the fire service will need to ensure any spillage has not leaked and if it has, they'll have the duty of soaking it up or clearly it in other ways. Thankfully, the majority of accidents that involve call outs to the fire service are for this kind of duty, but some are obviously of a more serious nature.

Serious Issues for Fire Fighters at the Scene of an Accident

One of the most common and difficult jobs for the fire service at the scene of an accident is having to deal with someone who is trapped inside a vehicle. Due to the severity of certain crashes, individuals may become trapped in their vehicle and the only way to get them out is to cut them out with specialist equipment.

The fire service have these tools and the skills needed to carefully remove people from their cars so they can receive medical attention. This can be an extremely dangerous task, with even the slightly wrong move possibly leading to the individual involved being injured more severely. The fire service will make use of specialist lifting equipment to get people out of danger and it is the duty of the senior fire service officer to decide the correct equipment to be used and its placement at the scene.

Generally, the police will maintain control at an accident site, but the fire service are responsible for any rescue efforts and dealing with dangerous substances. Likewise, it's the duty of the ambulance service, not the fire service, to administer any first aid to injured individuals.

Sometimes Simple is Better

Many fire fighters will be aware of the different tools they have available to them for traffic accidents and they normally are supplied with a variety of hand and air tools. Hand tools are everyday tools that can be used to break glass, cut through rubber seals and more. They are generally the most used for fire fighters who are looking for the safest most effective way of dealing with their situation.

Air tools are usually powered tools that may work quicker overall, but aren't necessarily the best choice for every situation. It's the role of good fire fighters to know their tools and when to use them - sometimes, simple is better.

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