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Control measure

Situational awareness: Trapped casualty in a mode of transport

Control measure knowledge

If a casualty is trapped in a mode of transport, it is important to gather the relevant information that will assist personnel in applying the most appropriate techniques and speed of response, while maintaining the safety of the casualty and all emergency responders.

Casualty information

The information gathered about casualties should be included in decision-making about the time available in terms of their condition, and the time required to achieve the method of rescue. This information should also inform tactical plans when considering the stabilisation of and access to the mode of transport.

Information should include:

  • The initial and ongoing condition of the casualty, as assessed by a medical responder or a fire and rescue service medic
  • The number of casualties, including:
    • Their location in the mode of transport
    • Whether they are sitting or prone
  • The level and type of entrapment:
    • Physical
    • Medical, for example, due to a neck injury
    • A combination of physical and medical

Mode of transport information

Information should be gathered about the mode of transport, to determine safe systems of work and provide a safer working environment for the casualty and all emergency responders.

The type, construction and technology of the mode of transport should be considered when rescuing a casualty; poor management of some features could impact on safety and the condition of the casualty.

Information can be accessed through the visual assessment of the scene, through specialist advisers or hazard identification software.

The Transport guidance provides further information on topics including:

The presence of the mode of transport hazards should be communicated to emergency responders working in the hazard area. It may also be beneficial to make the casualty aware of the presence of potential hazards, especially if rescuers are relying on their compliance with instructions.

The design of the mode of transport is likely to determine access arrangements. For example, in a road vehicle:

  • How many doors
  • Whether it has a boot or a rear hatch
  • Whether it has a sunroof or panoramic roof
  • The seating arrangement

Strategic actions

Fire and rescue services should:
  • Provide personnel with access to up-to-date information regarding vehicle design, including vehicle safety systems  

  • Establish access to specialist advice about the various modes of transport used in their area

Tactical actions

Incident commanders should:
  • Include the condition and numbers of casualties in tactical plans for stabilising and accessing the mode of transport

  • Identify the level and type of entrapment of the casualty in the mode of transport

  • Estimate the times available and required for rescue from the mode of transport

  • Gather information about the mode of transport from specialists or hazard identification software

  • Communicate the presence of the mode of transport hazards to emergency responders and the casualty