This Road Safety Week, firefighters across the country will be running Biker Down events - free first-aid courses for motorcyclists. Kent Fire & Rescue Service crew manager, and keen motorcyclist, Jim Sanderson talks about why he set up the initiative.
Back in 2010 I witnessed a motorcycle crash while off duty and used my own training as a firefighter to assist at the scene. On reflection I realised the skills and knowledge I’d used would be well worth sharing with fellow bikers, hence the Biker Down scheme was born. I delivered the first course in August 2011 at Ashford Fire Station in Kent.
Since then, and with the support of Kent Fire & Rescue Service and a dedicated team of staff and volunteers, the scheme has spread nationwide and we now have more than 40 teams around the UK. These teams run the course both for motorcycle clubs and groups of individuals. For the year 2016 – 2017, 6,109 bikers attended Biker Down training throughout the UK.
The training comprises of three modules:
Module 1 – Incident Scene Management: managing the scene until help arrives, risk assessment and appropriate actions.
Module 2 – Casualty Care: how to treat the typical trauma and mechanism of injury found at the scene of a motorcycle related incident, including major bleeds and basic life support, managing spinal injuries, helmet removal and CPR.
Module 3 – The Science of Being Seen (devised by Kevin Williams from Survival Skills Motorcycle Training): examining phenomena such as motion camouflage, saccadic masking and looming and highlighting that a biker’s best defence is assuming that they might not be seen and riding accordingly.
We’ve had positive feedback from several people who’ve attended bike incidents, but also car crashes and even non-road related incidents and put their skills to good use. Biker Down won a Prince Michael of Kent International Road Safety Award in December 2012, one of only two in the motorcycle category. It went on to win a National ‘Alarm’ Award in August 2013. It is now recognised by the NFCC as a National Fire Service initiative.
In response to a ‘call to arms’ for Road Safety Week, 13 fire and rescue services are planning to run Biker Down courses next week, to try and ensure we get as many bikers educated in what to do at the scene of a motorcycle crash. They will be taking place in the following areas:
- Tuesday 20 November: South Yorkshire
- Wednesday 21 November: Kent; East Sussex
- Thursday 22 November: Buckinghamshire & Milton Keynes; Tyne & Wear
- Friday 23 November: Gloucestershire
- Saturday 24 November: Buckinghamshire & Milton Keynes; London; Cambridgeshire; Hertfordshire
- Sunday 25 November: Warwickshire
- Monday 26 November: Cheshire