Jaws of life for Netcare 911 in Richards Bay

Patient access equipment will help emergency medical response team save more lives

Thursday, December 5 2013

Netcare 911 emergency medical personnel in Richards Bay are now even better equipped to assist victims of motor vehicle accidents in the area, as they recently acquired their own hydraulic patient access equipment, more commonly known as the jaws of life.

“Richards Bay is situated in a semi-rural environment where there are long stretches along the N2 highway with only small pockets of settlements, which means that it may take some time for emergency services like the fire department to reach the scene of an accident where extrication is needed. In addition, they cover a vast area and may already be working on the scene of another emergency some distance away,” says Marc van Heerden, regional general manager: coastal at Netcare 911.

“With this equipment, which was seconded from the Netcare Kwagga coastal team, it means that we, as a medical emergency response service, can alleviate some of the pressure on the system. It is another way in which we can work together with emergency services like the fire department to assist each other in providing the necessary emergency services to the injured in the quickest possible time,” says Van Heerden. This patient access equipment consists of a hydraulic cutter, a hydraulic ram and a spreader. It is transported in a specially modified Netcare 911 4x4 vehicle and is taken to every emergency where it may be needed.

Theory-based training on the new equipment began in October, so that the Netcare 911 team members could immediately begin with practical training with a rescue specialist once Netcare 911 took delivery of the equipment in November. “For our practical training, the South African Police Services (SAPS) in Richards Bay very generously donated vehicles that were going to be crushed. All members of our emergency medical response team are now familiar with the use of this patient access equipment and any new paramedics will be brought up to speed when they join our team,” explains Van Heerden.

The jaws of life will strengthen Netcare 911’s service, especially during the festive season when the number of accidents unfortunately increase as more people drive along the N2 to get to their holiday destinations. “We seconded the equipment just at the right time and are proud to be able to provide such a crucial service. The Richards Bay and Empangeni community has been extremely supportive, from members of the public to the SAPS to the local fire department, as they know that this equipment will further enhance emergency services in the region,” concludes Van Heerden.

Issued by: Martina Nicholson Associates (MNA) on behalf of Netcare 911
Contact: Martina Nicholson, Graeme Swinney or Sarah Beswick
Telephone: (011) 469 3016
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