Driver First Assist training

After last week’s blog was brought to you courtesy of a chance meeting on a ScotRail train, I’m back on the rails writing this week on a Piccadilly Line Underground train to Cockfosters, but it’s safety on the roads I’m focusing on. I’ve just been on a day training course with Driver First Assist and am now a qualified DFA member having achieved 19 out of 20 in the test at the end of the course. Shame I never managed those sort of results at school.

Driver First Assist sees training more people in how to respond when they are among the first to come across the scene of a serious road accident as representing potentially the greatest step forward in saving life on our highways. A blocked airway will cause death in four minutes, but the target time for an ambulance to reach an accident is eight minutes, longer in rural areas, so if something can be done in the vital early minutes of a crash aftermath, many more lives can be saved. It isn’t only basic first aid that will help, it is hugely important to make sure accurate and comprehensive information is relayed to the emergency services as quickly as possible.

Statistically, having 60,000 people trained to do the right things to keep accident victims alive until the emergency services get there could reduce deaths in such circumstances by up to 46%. Currently, 50% of people who die on the roads are already dead before an ambulance can get there.

Driver First Assist is targeting professional truck, bus and coach drivers who cover high mileages and are therefore more likely to encounter incidents within minutes of them occurring. The organisation believes that, in addition to the potential lifesaving benefits, obtaining DFA membership will add to driver’s sense of professionalism. It should be stressed that no driver should do anything that places themselves or, for PCV drivers their passengers, at any risk, but merely accurately reporting to the authorities the location and particulars of an incident has a major benefit in helping to ensure an appropriate response.

You’ll be able to read more about the scheme in a forthcoming edition of Bus & Coach Buyer.

During the course, the usefulness of portable defibrillators in saving the lives of heart attack victims was mentioned. It occurred to me that with the average age of many coach tours passenger lists well into the retirement zone, it might make sense to carry them as an advertised feature on tour coaches, with drivers given appropriate training in their use. Apparently they aren’t as hard to use as you’d imagine because modern machines tell you everything you need to do. It might be a whole lot more reassuring for passengers than any number of other extras that could be specified, while its availability for others has the potential to create very positive stories for the operator and staff involved.

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