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Control measure

Specialist resources: Medical resources

Control measure knowledge

Identifying the need for and requesting the attendance of medical resources for casualty care at an early stage will benefit the casualty, as it may reduce delay in treatment and aid recovery. The request should include information about the number of casualties, and the type and severity of their injuries. Updates should be provided to the medical resources if the condition of any casualty deteriorates.

Medical resources include:

  • Ambulance service
  • Paramedics
  • Doctors
  • Specialist ambulance response teams:
  • Hazardous area response teams (HART)
  • Special operations response teams (SORT)
  • Helicopter emergency medical service (HEMS)
  • Other medical organisations

Adopting a systematic approach to casualty care allows life-threatening conditions to be rapidly identified and managed. The principles of interoperability apply to casualty care; fire and rescue services should plan and prepare where appropriate with the ambulance services and other partner agencies in their area, to deliver a good level of care for casualties involved in the incidents they attend. Improvement and development should be identified as a priority in continuing to provide the best level of care for a casualty.

The medical resources may require the assistance of personnel to gain access to the casualty. They may also require assistance with the transportation of equipment and the casualty.

If the casualty is in a remote location, this may need to be reflected in the medical resources required, as there may be a need for specialist skills and equipment.

Personnel should adopt the appropriate approach, depending on the number of casualties. A single or last casualty present should be treated and stabilised with the appropriate medical care, with the intention of transportation to a hospital. For further information about dealing with multiple casualties, refer to Carry out triage.

If there are any safety concerns about the presence, number or condition of casualties, first responders should follow the ‘Step 1-2-3 Plus’ process, as detailed in the Home Office publication, Initial Operational Response to a CBRN Incident. For further information refer to Hazardous materials - Signs and symptoms of exposure.

It may be necessary to request medical resources as a precautionary measure, for the safety or treatment of emergency responders at the incident.

Strategic actions

Fire and rescue services should:
  • Hold contact details for specialist medical responders to enable a timely response to incidents

  • Develop appropriate agreements with partner agencies to effectively provide casualty care

Tactical actions

Incident commanders should:
  • Request appropriate medical resources at the earliest opportunity for the number of casualties, and the type and severity of their injuries

  • Provide updates to the medical resources if the condition of any casualty deteriorates

  • Be prepared to assist the medical resources at the incident

  • Consider the medical resources required for remote locations, including specialist skills and equipment

  • Consider following the ‘Step 1-2-3 Plus’ process if necessary

  • Request medical support for emergency responders if required