In this essay I will be describing the way that emergency incidents are graded within the ambulance, by the call handler. Also I would explain the roles and responsibilities of the key services attending an emergency incident.
The Civil Contingencies Act 2004 defined an emergency as a situation whereby a person or the environment is in danger of serious damage.
All of the uniformed public services such as police, ambulance and fire brigade have different roles and responsibilities in an emergency situation. They all also have different graded response policies. When a person calls ‘999’, depending on the information provided by a caller, the call handler would grade the emergency.
The national call handling standard was published by the Home Office for the public services of England and Wales. The call hander would grade the response in accordance to the national call handling standard. The incidents which are reported by the public to the ambulance service would get grade into a category. The GPs and other health professionals could also make urgent calls to the ambulance; these calls would also get graded the same way which the public calls are graded.
Category ‘A’ in the ambulance service is the most serious of them. If an incident is graded into this category it usually refers to the incident to be considered immediately life threatening such as a heart attack. The category ‘A’ incidents would have to be responded within 8 minutes. Category ‘B’ usually refers to incidents which are serious, however the incident isn’t immediately life threatening such as a big cut or a burn. These types of incidents have a response time of 19 minutes. If the incident is neither serious or life threatening then it is given a grade category ‘C’
At an emergency the police would have to keep the control room updated with information which they get from the scene. If the incident is serious and immediate assistance is required then the mnemonic ‘CHALETS’ would be used to transmit vital information to the control room.
The mnemonic ‘CHLENTS’ stands for:
* Casualties – approximate numbers of dead, injured and uninjured
* Hazards – present and potential
* Access – best access routes for emergency vehicles, bottlenecks to avoid etc.
* Location – the precise location of the incident
* Emergency – emergency services already on scene, and what others are required
* Type of Incident – including details of numbers of vehicles, buildings etc. Involved
* Start a log
The roles and responsibilities of the police service are to:
* Saving of life
* Protecting the public from danger
* Achieved through close co-operation whilst maintaining agreed roles and responsibilities
They would also be expected to keep the scene clear and keep the crowd under control. This is important because if the public had started to go into the scene of the incident some vital evidence might get tampered with or removed from the scene which might lead the case to be unsuccessful at court. Also keeping the crowd under control would put less pressure on the other public services whilst they are doing their role in the scene. They would do this by setting up barriers which usually are not to be crossed by the public and they would have to direct and divert traffic to routes which are clear if required. They would usually get help from traffic police in this situation. This would help the other public services such as the ambulance and give them enough space to do their job correctly.
One of the main things which the police would have to do at an incident is to take witness statements from the public of what they saw and heard. This is important to find out why and who caused the incident or how the incident took place. This also is important in the court of law. They would also search the scene for evidence as this could help to solve the crime also. The searching would mainly be conducted by a expert team which the police would call in to help them. The type of evidence which they would look for are things such as how, when and where the incident started from and look for objects which could have been used in the incident.
The roles and responsibilities of the fire service are to:
* Fight fires
* Save/rescue casualties
* Provide first aid if required
* Work alongside other services
* Identify any hazardous substances
* Get rid of any harmful chemicals
* Investigate in the causes of the fire
The fire service’s main roles at an emergency are to extinguish fires and rescuing casualties from buildings which are on fire. The fire brigade would come to the scene prepared for the scene. The fire brigade have many different tools and equipments. This gives them an advantage and makes them ready for any obstacle which they may face when they enter the building to save the casualties.
The fire fighters usually help other public services on scene as they have some equipment which the other services don’t they would also work with other services in terms of the health and safety.
If the ambulance hasn’t got to the scene of the emergency and a casualty requires first aid then members of the fire service would have to provide that service. This is important as it could save causalities life. The fire fighters are trained in this section so they know what they are doing. Also they help the ambulance to carry away casualties into the ambulances for them to take to the hospitals.
In some cases the fire fighters would be expected to remove any chemicals from buildings. This helps to minimize the risk of the fire spreading and would have to use different types of extinguishers for different types of fires. Using the right type of substance to put out the fires helps to put out the fires quicker and safer.
In some instances they would also have to identify what the chemical which they are fighting against. This is then passed onto the police and would help the police to identify how the fire was started.
They also would have to investigate the cause of the fires. This is done by the fire investigation officers who are specifically trained in the section of investigation. This helps the other public services such as the police to know if a criminal investigation is required.
The roles and responsibilities of the ambulance service are to:
* Provide first aid on scene
* Locate casualty loading point
* Locate casualties
* Take causalities to located hospitals
When an ambulance attends the scene of an accident, they have to use their experience, skills and quick thinking to assess the situation as quick as possible. They will scan the scene and look for the casualties who seem to be the most severely injured and deal with them first. This is because they would be the ones which are most in need of attention. In doing so though, they will also be responsible for calming other injured individuals who may be more vocal at the scene, but as trained specialists they will know exactly who to deal with first.
The ambulance has one of the simplest roles and responsibilities at an emergency incident. They would provide emergency aid on scene if required. This is really important because if some injuries are not attended to soon as possible then the injury could get worse. Doing a first aid on scene would therefore reduce the pain until the individual has been taken to the hospital where they would be examined proper. If a person requires resuscitation then the ambulance would have to do it on scene as this is very important. The casualties which they pick up from the emergency incident would have to be transported to the hospital.
If an individual on the scene is suffering from things such as a heart attack then the ambulances presence would be essential as they would be able to provide the best possible aid to the individual. The paramedics would be trained and taught the skills which are required for any situation. They would also be provided with equipment which they might need if causalities are injuries severely.
Inter-agency cooperation’s work alongside with public services in crime scenes to collect evidence and investigate evidence also to provide assistance. The reason why the inter-agency is required at crime scenes is because the police and other public services are not fully qualified in collecting evidence from crime scene.
A real life example of this could be taken from the London bombings in July 2005. The fire, police and ambulance services had to work together so that they could control the situation. All of the public services had to get an inter-agency cooperation involved so that they could resolve the situation. The police had to call the forensic science squad so they could investigate for evidence on the scene.
Whilst they did that the police used their time to keep the public calm and the area clear for the forensic science squad to collect the evidence. The fire brigade had to relay on the arson for the best process which they should take which made the fire fighters feel like they are in control of the situation and also the fire fighters felt more confident. The ambulance had help from the paramedics and experienced doctors from the local hospital to treat the people who were affected by the explosions which they wouldn’t have been able to do to the capability which the fully trained doctors could. These would be classed as the positive aspects of working with inter-agency cooperation’s.
The advantages of using Inter-agencies in situations are that the public services wouldn’t have much to do apart from play their main roles at the scene. This would put less pressure on the public services meaning that they would be able to do the work which they are required to do very good.
Also the skills and quality of work for each of the inter-agencies which is involved would be better than the ones of the public services as they are trained in the profession which they are being called for such as the investigation teams.
Another advantage is that support from agencies such as St John’s ambulance would help with the causalities. In the London bombings example one of the explosions happened near a doctor training area. This was an advantage as they were able to help the casualties also.
The disadvantages of using inter-agencies are that evidence could get ruined because a casualty has to be saved. Also using inter-agencies could result in alot of time being lost and many delays. A main disadvantage in the example of the London bombings is that the doctors going out of the hospital in order to help the casualties outside meant that the patients inside the hospital had to be left unattended and with a slower service inside the hospital.