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Newsletter October 2009

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Welcome to European Union project CoSafe.

 Cooperation for Safety in sparsely populated areas

Within the CoSafe project homepage you can find information about the project, activities, participants, contact addresses, news, and a photo gallery with pictures from the different meetings and scenarios.

The 8:th meeting, work shop 3, within the CoSafe project took place in Stornoway, Western Isles, Scotland on September 22 – 24, 2009. Teams from Sweden Scotland, Iceland and Finland were represented.

Each team gave a short presentation of their results so far.

The aim of the meeting was to find out gaps identified so far which have to be developed in this project.

Results from the questionnaires in step 2 will be available late this year.

During the meeting we paid a visit to the site where the Scottish team has located the scene for the air crash, which is one the scenarios we are working with. We were also invited to the MCGA Helicopter and got information about how the helicopter was working and a presentation of the Technical Rescue Teams.

We took part of the seminar “Remote & Rural Major Incident Management”, read more below.

Our last day in Scotland, we decided on how to go on with products and services. We also got a demonstration of a special stretcher developed for mountain rescue and a demonstration of the Scottish ambulance service telemedicine communication.

In March 2010 we will have our first international seminar in Iceland. We have invited members of the Botnia Atlantica project ”Gränsöverskridande fjällräddning etapp 2” with participants from Norway and Sweden to the seminar and people from the Scottish mountain rescue, Greenland and Faeroe Islands.

Remote and Rural Major Incident Management Conference ’09 -
Lessons Learned

Under the auspices of the Highlands and Islands Strategic Coordinating Group (supported by the Scottish Resilience Development Service (ScoRDS)) and the Cooperation for Safety in Sparsely Populated Areas (CoSafe) Northern periphery Programme project a conference on Remote and Rural Major Incident Management was held on 23rd September 2009 in An Lanntair, Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, Scotland. The conference was organised and coordinated by Tom Laverty, NHS Western Isles Emergency Planning Officer and Local Project Leader of the CoSafe project.

The meeting was attended by 60 -70 local and off island people involved in the management of major disasters.

The conference was opened by the Lord Lieutenant of the Western Isles, Mr Sandy Matheson, OBE. In his opening words he welcomed the audience to the conference and introduced them to the Western Isles. He made specific mention of the uniqueness of the Outer Hebrides and the challenges posed by remoteness, the sea and the weather. By way of introduction Andrew Sim described the objectives of the Cosafe project, described its activity so far and the initial results of its studies. He emphasised that the theme of the meeting was to learn from lessons of the past.

The meeting was in two parts:

Three state of the art lectures were delivered on topics important to major incident management:

• Mike Langran a full time GP in Aviemore with special interests in immediate medical care and ski patrol medicine gave a talk entitled “Equipment Challenges at the Pre-hospital Coalface” he highlighted recent equipment advances and areas for future development.
• Jason Long, consultant in Emergency Medicine at the Southern General Hospital in Glasgow presented his analysis of the Emergency Medical Retrieval Services in the Northwest of Scotland . Illustrating his talk with examples from the government supported emergency retrieval service pilot study which is nearing completion.
• Mick Tighe, mountain guide, mountain rescue expert and past National Training Officer for the Mountain Rescue Committee of Scotland used his presentation Wild Mountain Times – Frontline Rescue Experiences to illustrate the work of the mountain rescue service and draw attention to areas which he thought needed investment and expansion.
Interwoven between these presentations and in keeping within the theme of leraning from lessons of the past three other presentations were made:
• Sandy Matheson described two Western Isles local disasters; the sinking of the Iolaire (1919) and the Shackleton aeroplane crash in South Harris (1990). He emphasised the difficulties of coordinating disaster management in an isolated environment.
• A specially commissioned DVD, made with the support of Ian Burgess (Operations Manager for the North of Scotland) of the Maritime Coastguard Agency, graphically and dramatically depicted the rescue of 14 fishermen from the trawler Spinningdale grounded on St Kilda in 2008.
• Agnes Munro, manager of the Accident and Emergency Department in the Western Isles Hospital gave a personal account of the road traffic accident in Shawbost (2004) emphasising that an incident with as few as 5 casualties stretches the local services to near breaking point.

Interesting discussion took place about the interactions between the various agencies involved in disaster management and information was shared on the advances in communication and organisation spearheaded by the Northern Constabulary.
The Chief Constable of the Northern Constabulary and Chairman of the Highlands and Islands Strategic Coordinating Group closed the meeting by emphasising the importance of using the opportunities made available through the CoSafe project to make real and practical improvements in management of major disasters in remote and rural areas.

SNAM exercise in Akureyri – a result of cooperation in CoSafe

On a beautiful, clear and cold Saturday morning the 5th of September 2009 a SAS aircraft landed at Akureyri airport. The plane was neither full of business people nor tourists - Swedish health care staff and “12 bus crash patients” stepped out of the plane at 7 a.m. The reason for this is due to cooperation through the CoSafe project resulting in better information concerning international help / service when big accidents or disasters take place.

The Swedish National Air Medevac (SNAM) had their annual exercise for their crew on the 5th of September. The choice of exercise location arose through cooperation when working in NPP projects like CoSafe. Such cooperation is very valuable making it easy to be in touch, arrange and organize such a big event. This exercise was organized by the SNAM team and the Icelandic CoSafe team, together with the Akureyri Hospital, the local ambulance service and the volunteer rescue service in Akureyri. The “patients” were brought to the hospital where they were simulated as proper patients with lots of injuries and burns. The staff in the Intensive care unit and the emergency department then had their in-hospital training in triage, treating and preparing the patients for transportation.

The Swedish team then arrived with their ICU stretchers or normal transport stretchers in order to transport them from the ICU or Emergency department to the airport. When all the patients had been transported to the aircraft everybody were invited to have a short sightseeing tour in the SAS aircraft in order to see how the crew and the health care staff organized their patients during the flight. The exercise was very tight scheduled but everything worked out smoothly. The Swedish group was very pleased with the help from everybody involved and the Icelandic CoSafe project team was very privileged to be able to participate in such an international project. IT must be mentioned that the interest was so much within the health care team in the hospital and the rescue service that almost everyone was there on a voluntary basis. This exercise stresses the importance of working together on an international level.

A project as the Cosafe project, where the focus is on preparedness and plans for disaster and emergencies in rural areas, is very important is this matter. It is very valuable to have the possibility to disseminate new knowledge, skills and information in order to enhance further international cooperation. That is one of the reasons why NPP projects like the CoSafe project is important.

In March 2010 we will have our first international seminar in Iceland. We have invited members of the Botnia Atlantica project ”Gränsöverskridande fjällräddning etapp 2” (Cross-border mountain rescue, stage two) with participants from Norway and Sweden to the seminar and people from the Scottish mountain rescue, Greenland and Faeroe Islands.

Latest updated information you always find at our homepage www.cosafe.eu



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