By 2030 road crashes are forecast to be the fifth leading cause of death globally, killing more people than diseases like malaria and AIDS. Moreover, 20-50 million people are seriously injured or disabled each year as a result of road traffic collisions (RTCs), weighing heavily on health and social services and impoverishing families. Improved post-crash response, the theme of this year’s World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims on 20th November, is vital to saving lives and an essential Pillar within the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011 -2020.
Sadly, however, post-crash care is an area frequently overlooked by policy makers, particularly in low and middle-income countries, leading to a serious lack in capacity for road rescue, and inadequate training and equipment for emergency services – despite often highly motivated and capable crews. In Ukraine, for example, 78% of road casualties die at the scene of a crash, compared to less than one-third in the UK. Yet by giving someone first aid within the first 10 minutes after a crash, their chances of surviving increase by 60-70 per cent.
As one of the founding members of FIRE AID, EASST actively works to improve post-crash response and therefore survival rates. With our FIRE AID partners, ethical and sustainable donations of emergency services aid and training have been delivered to our partner countries including Ukraine, Tajikistan, and Moldova, where UK-donated fire appliances attended over 100 RTCs in 2015 and saved 47 lives.
In 2016 EASST’s cooperation with the Lviv University of Life Safety saw the establishment of the first ever partnership group focused on RTC response in Lviv, Ukraine. Representatives from the police, fire and ambulance service, local authorities, local road safety organisation the Road Safety Support Foundation, and the University discussed the importance of multi-sectoral action which the World Health Organisation describes as “essential for effective national road safety strategies.” The team spent an afternoon at Korosten Fire Station, where UK-donated fire appliances are operational, and conducted first aid training with the crew while local services also received donations of medical items along with training and fire-fighting PPE.
In the mountainous Central Asian country of Tajikistan, fewer than 11 per cent of seriously injured road victims are transported to hospital by ambulance, most are at best bundled into passing vehicles. As such, following a successful delivery of aid and training in November 2015, EASST and FIRE AID member SESHAA, returned to Tajikistan in September 2016 to continue their effective cooperation with emergency services. The team delivered life-saving extrication equipment, fire-fighting PPE, and other rescue items to fire services in the capital Dushanbe and to the main fire station in the town of Khorog in the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region.
Of course, road injury reduction will be competing with other important development goals for attention – such as poverty reduction, quality education, clean water and reduced inequalities. But safer roads and sustainable cities have a direct link with disaster risk reduction and greater resilience to global hazards. The work carried out by EASST and FIRE AID partners is certainly contributing in these important areas.
HELP US SEND A CONVOY OF EMERGENCY VEHICLES TO TAJIKISTAN IN 2017
We are now giving you a unique opportunity to be part of our exciting initiative that will see UK firefighters volunteering to drive a humanitarian aid convoy from the UK to Tajikistan in 2017.
You can contribute to our mission from just $2 upwards – receive beautiful gifts, meet the team, or choose to name a vehicle in the convoy, and thereby help us to deliver our aid to Tajikistan.