Ready to respond
As the nation continues to reel from the high number of road traffic crashes and consequent fatalities, the Jamaica National (JN) Foundation has partnered with St John Ambulance to train volunteers in emergency medical response.
The training is part of the JN Foundation's First Responders programme, an initiative to equip community members in rural crash-prone areas with the skills to respond appropriately to road crash victims.
Fifteen volunteers participated in a recent four-day training programme conducted in Prospect, St Ann, by master trainers from St John Ambulance. The volunteers were trained in appropriate steps to take in managing casualties at emergency scenes; treat pelvic and spinal injuries; handle burns, shock and severe bleeding; control respiratory complications; and guide emergency childbirth.
Carey Lue-Pann, project manager of the JN Foundation's Road Safety Programme, said that the workshop covered the essential knowledge to provide pre-hospital care for critical medical emergencies.
"With the combined efforts of all our partners, First Responders will reduce loss of life, lessen pain and suffering, and promote optimal recovery of victims. On-the-scene attention will also ensure that the victim is as comfortable as possible until the arrival of advanced medical care," he explained.
Retired registered nurse from Discovery Bay, June Boucher, is one of the volunteers. "I signed up because I know from experience that many people die from injuries that were not life-threatening. We can save more lives if more persons receive training and qualification," she stated.
In its first phase, the First Responders programme will invite, encourage and train community volunteers along the identified crash hotspot zones in rural areas, such as the north coast corridor from Ocho Rios to Montego Bay and sections of highways in Hanover and Westmoreland.
"Our goal is to reduce the number of fatalities by the end of 2016," Lue-Pann explained.
JN Foundation's Road Safety Programme is built around improving the behaviour of road users and enhancing post-crash care, two of the pillars established under the United Nation's Global Plan for the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011 - 2020, as an overall framework for improving global road safety.
Additional partners in the programme include the Jamaica Automobile Association (JAA), the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) and the Fire Brigade.
The First Responders programme is the most recent addition to the JN Foundation's Road Safety Programme. The organisation has already initiated the JAA Junior Club, an initiative to encourage road safety awareness among high-school students, and works in tandem with the Police in Schools programme, an initiative of the JCF, to educate students in primary schools about safe road usage.