Aim To make students aware of the various types of victims at incidents and the appropriate casualty care.
Learning Outcomes At the end of the session students will be able to: State the various categories of victim State the appropriate care for victims List the risks and hazards associated with casualty care.
Casualty care In the course of their duties firefighters may have to deal with the victims of an incident It is therefore important that you are able to recognise the signs and symptoms associated with victim distress and deal with the situation without the distressed person(s) affecting the management of the incident.
Involvement of victims Victims occur as a result of being directly or indirectly involved Directly involved victims could be the occupiers of a house fire or passengers involved in a road traffic accident Firefighters could also be direct victims if affected by the disturbing aspects of an incident.
Involvement of victims Indirectly involved victims could be witnesses or bystanders, or a friend or relative who arrives after being told of the incident.
Categories of victims Distressed persons Deceased persons There are two categories of victim; At the majority of incidents there are likely to be both direct and indirect victims At incidents where there are fatalities there are usually other distressed persons.
Distressed persons Vulnerability Guilt Blame Bereavement Distress in people is usually caused by shock and anxiety brought about through many different reasons at an incident; Injury Financial loss Sentimental loss.
Personal reactions Different people react to stressful situations in various ways;
Personal reactions Severe headache or dizziness Blurred vision Trouble in swallowing Asthma Excessive sweating Skin rashes. Physical symptoms;
Personal reactions Psychological or behavioural symptoms; Depression Anxiety Outburst of temper or irritability Inability to relax Feelings of guilt Uncontrollable outburst of emotion.
Managing distressed people One of the fire officers main objectives is to reduce stress to the persons affected Be sympathetic but constructive Avoid inappropriate language Maintain the dignity and modesty of victims Take the victims to a more friendly environment away from the incident scene.
Sources of help It is unlikely that firefighters will be able to remain with the victim(s) and the help of others will be needed
Sources of help Relatives and friends Neighbours Police officers Ambulance personnel Local general practitioner. Short term;
Sources of help Longer term; Department of Social Security Council Housing Red Cross Fire Victim Support Citizens Advice Bureau.
Special needs Hearing, speech or visual impairment Cerebral palsy Irrational behaviour Such people may react unpredictably and sometimes violently, where there is any doubt about an individuals personal safety the police should be requested. Firefighters will from time to time come across distressed people who cannot easily communicate their feelings or condition, e.g.;
Deceased persons Action to be taken If there is any possibility that the victim is still alive; Request an ambulance, if not inattendance Provide first aid until ambulance arrives. Firefighters may discover the bodies of victims, burnt and often part buried in debris, that are difficult to recognise
Deceased persons Action to be taken Leave the body and surrounding debris undisturbed If the victim is obviously dead the Police must be informed unless; It is hindering firefighting operations Or may be destroyed or further damaged by fire.
Deceased persons If the body has to be removed details of where and how the victim was lying must be recorded Information about the circumstances in which the body was discovered will be required for a coroners inquest Any damage caused to the body while moving must be recorded immediately and the police informed Important
Deceased persons Prior to certification of death After certification of death Ambulance Service Police. Responsibility for removing victims;
Deceased persons Bodies must be moved with dignity and respect Minimise further distress to family and friends Use an appropriate method, e.g. body bag Consider sheeting off the area Clear the area of bystanders.
Animals Firefighters may also have to deal with dead or traumatised animals and must bear in mind the fondness most owners have for their pets.
Animals Further distress to the owner or injured animal should be minimised by careful handling Bodies should be removed and placed in a garden, yard or other convenient place Cover with a sheet before handing over care to the owner, occupant or a neighbour If an animal is injured, agreement of the owner should be obtained wherever possible before requesting a vet to attend.
Confirmation Assessments will be based on this lesson and the corresponding study note Learning Outcomes State the various categories of victim State the appropriate care for victims List the risks and hazards associated with casualty care.