IT IS a hard fact that farmers, more than most, are likely to encounter life threatening scenarios – but a new training course has been launched to deal with that possibility head-on, equipping farmers with first aid skills straight off the battlefield.

The ‘First Aid for Farmers’ course is about what can be done in the first 15 to 30 minutes after an accident to make a difference to the outcome whilst an ambulance arrives. It will cover what can immediately be done, with materials to hand, to cope with:

Crush injuries from a toppled quad bike or trampling cattle;

Severe bleeding due to amputation;

Impalement on equipment such as a baler spike;

Non-responsive casualties.

Launched this week by the H and H Group, the course will be delivered by qualified doctors and paramedics, along with student paramedics from Cumbria University, in a joint safety support initiative devised in partnership with H and H Safety, Carrs Billington and Johnston Tractors. The aim is to ‘take the angst’ out of what you can and should do in an emergency and provide practical scenario-based training to lead farmers through various incidents that could happen in a farm environment and the best course of action to take in that event.

The initiative has been driven by H and H non-executive director Colin Lindsay, a renowned Cumbrian vet, who said: “In the farming industry, we expose ourselves to danger daily, it is the nature of the job. Real life emergencies happen out in the field and they can be extremely serious. Sometimes, resultant injuries cannot be fixed by basic first aid, but the actions that are taken whilst help is being sought can literally be the difference between life or death.”

Mr Lindsay believes this is the first independent course of its kind and explained where the idea came from: “I am a vet by background so know about emergency treatment, I also enjoy mountaineering and travelling in remote locations for which we have had to do first aid survival courses. When I was talking to a friend from the Army Medical Core, we started to discuss whether we should be getting farmers up to speed on how to survive in a serious emergency.

“This led to us discussing practical advice such as how to do tourniquets and deal with head trauma or abdominal trauma as well as what sort of pocket trauma kit or medical kit would be needed on a tractor.

“The question hanging in the air though was – is this kind of training available in the farming community, and if not, what can we do to bridge that gap?”

The Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981 require all employers to provide first aid equipment and facilities in the case of injury or illness at work, but it is a grey area as to what that means to the farming community. So included in this course will be the legislative requirements in terms of the first aid expectations.

The group training event will be held on Wednesday December 11 at Borderway Mart, Carlisle. It is available to all farmers on a first-come-first served basis at £49.99 + VAT.