On 23 and 24 May, the CERN Fire Brigade welcomed five instructors from Life Support France, an association that offers training in pre-hospital emergency treatment, to provide a course on Pre-Hospital Trauma Life Support (PHTLS).
Fifteen “trainees” – seven CERN firefighters and eight rescue and healthcare professionals from outside the Organization (nurses, paramedics and firefighters) – took part in the course, at the end of which they were awarded an official PHTLS certificate, valid for four years. Of course, the whole PHTLS programme cannot be covered in just two days, so several months of additional work were required in advance of the course, particularly to acquire the necessary theoretical knowledge.
The seven CERN firefighters who now have PHTLS certification are, for the majority, members of the Fire Brigade’s paramedic team, which currently comprises 12 people. The five remaining members of the team will take the course in 2017. “This training is complementary to the courses we have established in the framework of our collaborationwith the Hôpitaux universitaires de Genève (HUG),” explains Eric Herbé, who is in charge of ALS (Advanced Life Support) activities in the Fire Brigade. “All HUG paramedics already have the PHTLS certificate, which complements the ‘brevet fédéral de technicien ambulancier’ qualification.”
During the two-day course, the participants completed various simulations, in particular of falls and road traffic accidents, two of the main causes of severe trauma. They learnt when and how to remove someone from a vehicle in an emergency, as sometimes the situation does not allow rescue services enough time to cut the vehicle open. One of the main objectives of the training course is to learn how to manage priorities in accordance with the principle “deal with the most life-threatening situations first”.
“In the Fire Brigade we are always striving to acquire new specialist knowledge,” adds Eric Herbé. “All of our firefighters, particularly the paramedic team, follow training courses, with the aim of improving the skill set of the whole Brigade.”