I got a call Friday night from one of the local event organisers. Am I available for a duty Saturday at one of the reasonably local schools. Having nothing else planned (and a strong desire to get out of the house), I said yes. Just more than twelve hours later, I’m in the local unit’s ambulance car, heading to the school (not quite as local as I had thought…), along with two others.
Most of the event was mostly, well, uneventful. It was a standard school spring faire. It was the first time they had run it, and it showed. There weren’t really very many people, and nobody really seemed to know what was going on. Oh, and there was a make-shift go-kart track.
In fact, that’s probably being a bit generous. It was essentially a set of tires laid out to delineate the track (as in, lots of single tire piles…), and a score board. That was it. No kidding. No barriers to keep carts and bystanders separate. Nothing really keeping the carts on the track. Nothing to stop the carts if they left the track. In short, everything about the track had our hair standing on end.
We had a quick chat with the organisers. Needless to say, they didn’t seem to take our concerns very seriously. In fact, the distinct impression we got was that they weren’t really listening. Unfortunately we don’t have the authority to insist they change things, so we had to leave it be.
Unfortunately, we were proved right. About two hours before the end of the event, we were called to an incident at the track.
As we got there, we found the driver stood, surrounded by her friends. Fortunately, on later examination, she seemed mostly unharmed, only a couple of bruises and a bit shaken. She was lucky. Had she been a small child, we would have been picking her up from the near by car park, almost certainly on a spinal board.
We had a minor scare when, after the patient was long gone, we saw the state the tree she had hit was in. A scary large chunk of bark had been knocked off. We also learnt that there had been a small crowd there, which had thankfully scattered before the impact.
Once we’d got over the mild panic that our patient might have been more injured than we’d thought (they were long gone, so there wasn’t much we could do if they were…), we headed off in search of the event organiser. Cue a twenty-minute conversation, mostly consisting of us describing precisely what had been wrong with the event, and what we thought needed to be done about it.
I doubt that we were listened to. I’ve seen it an annoying number of times. We’re trying to offer health and safety advice, something most of us have a reasonable amount of experience with. They make what they think are all the right noises, nodding and grunting as they feel is appropriate. They then walk off, and promptly forget everything we’ve said. I find it very frustrating, but unfortunately there’s nothing we can do.
I just hope I was just imagining it with this guy, otherwise someone is going to get seriously injured…