FIRE AID raises awareness of Post-Crash Response internationally

Tue 25, Feb, 2020

In February 2020, FIRE AID Deputy Chair and Director of one of our founding organisations, the Eastern Alliance for Safe and Sustainable Transport (EASST) Emma Maclennan represented FIRE AID at the 3rd Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety in Stockholm at a pannel on Post-Crash Response.

The ministerial conference marked the end of the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020 and was an opportunity for delegates to share successes and lessons from implementation of the Global Plan for the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011–2020: chart future strategic directions for global road safety up to 2030 and beyond: and define ways to accelerate action on proven strategies to save lives. The conference brought together Ministers from over 150 countries as well as representatives of international agencies, civil society organisations and the private sector.

The millions of lives lost every year due to road traffic collisions is “an outrage”, said World Health Organisation (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.“Most road traffic deaths and injuries can be prevented, using tried and tested strategies,” stated the WHO chief. “This conference is an opportunity for the world to embrace a new agenda to radically reduce the number of lives lost on our roads and re-think how we can provide access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems for all.”

Post-crash response is represented in Pillar 5 of the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety and although it is often the ‘forgotten’ pillar it is vital to reducing road related deaths. By giving someone first aid within the first 10 minutes after a crash, their chances of surviving increase by 60-70 per cent. Unfortunately, despite often highly motivated and capable crews, post-crash care is generally poorly resourced in many countries where we work. In Tajikistan for example, most emergency rescue vehicles are over 20 years old and sparsely equipped, and fewer than 11 per cent of seriously injured road traffic victims are transported to hospital by ambulance. Improving capacity for emergency response and post-crash care can make a vast difference to saving lives. In 2016 the WHO estimated that improving emergency care “could address over half of the deaths in low and middle income countries”. Our Deputy Chair Emma, joined fellow panelists Lee Wallis Head of Emergency Medicine for the Western Cape Government in South Africa, Maxwell Osei-Ampofo Komfo Head of Directorate for Emergency Medicine at Anokye Teaching Hospital in Ghana and Harsha de Silva Member of Parliament in Sri Lanka to discuss the key qualities of an effective emergency care system and to identify actions required to achieve the pillars goals for 2030.

Emma highlighted that many countries where FIRE AID works lack even the most basic equipment needed to extricate patients and transport them to a hospital. Often fire fighters in these countries are risking their own lives to save others as they lack personal protective equipment and other safety essentials, Emma spoke on the success of our projects which deliver redunandant, recycled equipment alongside training to these countries and explained how our ‘partnerships are key’ to this success. Our projects bring together fire, police and medical services, governments and mutliple international charitable organisations to save lives immediately after a crash and its these collaborations that ensure lasting change in the countries where we work.

The conference concluded with the creation of the Stockholm Declaration, which was presented by Swedish Infrastructure Minister Tomas Eneroth, the declaration calls for strong political will and international cooperation, along with partnerships across society. It also connects road safety to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, laying out recommendations to accelerate action towards halving global road traffic deaths and injuries by 2030.

FIRE AID welcomes the Stockholm Declaration and will continue to work towards reducing global road traffic dealths and injuries by 2030.