Skip to main content

Developed and maintained
by the NFCC

Control measure

Accessing a casualty involved with an unstable mode of transport

Control measure knowledge

Ideally the mode of transport should be stabilised to prevent further injury to the casualty and to protect emergency responders. However, it may be necessary to use rapid stabilisation methods if there is a threat to life. For further information about the team approach for stabilisation refer to Casualty-centred rescue from a mode of transport: Initial actions.

The immediate benefits of securing and stabilising the mode of transport when accessing casualties include:

  • Minimising the risk of causing further injuries or distress to the casualty
  • Supporting the activity or weight of emergency responders
  • Facilitating the extrication of the casualty
  • Enabling medical responders timely access to the casualty
  • Providing medical responders a stable environment from which to provide pre-hospital care
  • Preventing the chassis or floor pan flexing if the mode of transport is weakened by cutting or as a result of collision
  • Reducing moving, rocking or jarring

The number of personnel and other emergency responders, plus the weight of their equipment, should be controlled to minimise the impact on the stability of the mode of transport, or on the condition of casualties.

Carrying out joint training and exercises with local medical responders may help to provide a more cohesive emergency response for incidents involving casualties in unstable modes of transport.

Strategic actions

Fire and rescue services should:
  • Consider making arrangements for the provision of specialist equipment to assist with stabilisation of modes of transport

  • Carry out joint training and exercises with local medical responders for incidents involving casualties in unstable modes of transport

Tactical actions

Incident commanders should:
  • Assess the impact of the unstable mode of transport on any casualties involved

  • Stabilise the mode of transport to provide initial access to the casualties

  • Control the number of personnel and other emergency responders working in the mode of transport to minimise the impact on stability and the condition of casualties