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Thread: Ladders, trees, chain-saws and a nasty accident.

  1. #1

    Ladders, trees, chain-saws and a nasty accident.

    Yesterday afternoon four members of the North-Cotswolds DMG met up for a few hours to help one of the guys with some clearing around a high seat. We were in a pretty inaccessible location in a woodland on a hill but overlooking Cheltenham and Gloucester. One of the guys was trimming a large heavy branch of a tree approx. 20' high, using a chain-saw. Another guy was holding and stabilising the ladder. As the branch came down it whipped around at an unpredictable angle and took out the ladder, so the man fell heavily and almost took out the second guy with his chain-saw. It was immediately obviously that the patient was seriously injured, and extraction by ambulance would be impossible, as the nearest access road was about 3/4 Mile away. We were lucky that one of us was a Doctor but ofcourse we only carried basic first aid kit and no analgesia or the correct equipment to stabilise the suspected leg/spinal/pelvis injuries. We called 999 and requested an Air Ambulance and with some difficulty managed to explain our exact location. Instead of the requested air ambulance a road ambulance turned up and than couldn't find the nearest access point despite it being clearly marked on standard maps. The paramedics had to be met by 4x4, all their gear transferred, and transported to the patient, where they commenced treatment and agreed an air ambulance was required after some discussions on the best possible way of extracting the patient from the hill. High winds, very few open spaces and very steep slopes forced the helicopter to land some 300 Yards away so the patient had to be carried for some considerable distance. After X-Rays and CT Scan we learned he has a broken hip, multiple fractures of the pelvis, and two broken vertebrae, so very serious injuries indeed and after an operation today a long, slow road to what we hope will be a full recovery.

    Having had a rather restless night I think my current thinking -and also the reason of my post- is to reiterate the importance of carrying a mobile; knowing your exact location; know first aid and carry some first aid kit; never be on your own when using dangerous tools such as chain-saws, use the correct safety equipment (helmets, goggles, chain-saw clothing), think and work out where a branch will fall before you cut it off, and don't be too cavalier about safety thinking it will never happen to you.

    It was also a revelation to me that when we spoke to the control room and specifically requested an air ambulance, and a doctor on site confirmed this, that the 'procedure' is to sent out a paramedic team to assess the situation before authorising an air ambulance to take off. On this occasion there were no chain-saw injuries but if there would have been we would have had to deal with potentially life-threatening bleeding as well on top of everything else, and the two hours it took from the moment of the accident to the patients arrival at A&E could have been too long.

  2. #2
    Hope he makes a quick recovery! NEVER work of a ladder with a chainsaw! It will lead to an accident. Ive seen a few DIY jobs where someones got hurt. Pay the money get in a professional! I charge considerably more to tidy someone else's work up!

  3. #3
    and people moan about rams !

    there is always a safer way 'after' someone is hurt !

  4. #4
    Hope the guy makes a speedy recovery too ,had a near miss several yrs back with ladder and saw not been up a ladder with one since we have some tree monkeys who are pro's do the hard stuff now .
    kind regards

  5. #5
    I think part of the problem with the ambulance finding you is down to map reading skills - or lack of them!
    I have had experience of requesting medical assistance to areas away from access roads, and as soon as I attempted to give my location as an OSmap grid reference it became very obvious that I was speaking a foreign language!
    Glad your mate is going to recover.

  6. #6
    Thank you for sharing.

    To err is human and hopefully we can at least agree we're all human!

    ​Hope he has a speedy recovery.
    Stalking and Courses
    BASC Approved Trainer & Assessor. Cairngorm National Park Authority Approved Supplier. Supported by Sauer Arms
    See you at Kelso, Scone & Moy 2016

  7. #7
    hope hes back to normal soon.
    sometimes its always with just taking a min to stop and think about a task before you do it. Its a nasty accident, but luckly it wasnt as serouis as it could of been

  8. #8
    It's why we never use a ladder to cut trees, hope he gets well soon.

  9. #9
    OS Grid Reference training used to be a part of the six week Ambulance Aid Course, and in Shropshire we always had OS Maps in the cab, maybe they rely too much on Sat Navs these days. Back in the day we had to learn our area around the Ambulance Station, then when dynamic cover was introduced, and you suddenly had the whole county to think about, hence the OS Maps in the cabs, and on the wall of every station and in Ambulance Control in Shrewsbury.

    Shropshire Ambulance doesn't exist any more, its area is covered by West Midlands, and lots of staff have transferred to Shropshire, plus they closed the Ambulance Control in Shropshire, and transferred operational control to Brierley Hill in the West Midlands, and then closed all the Ambulance Stations, and set up two bases where staff can pick up fully stocked vehicles for the start of a shift, without having to check them. Whether this has had any effect I don't know, but the pointers are a lack of local knowledge, and the possibility that they rely on GPS Sat Navs more than OS Maps.

    ​Not all savings translate into the real World.
    There's always next week...

  10. #10
    Hoping him a full and speedy recovery, catch up with you tomorrow evening Eric.

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