NSW Ambulance remind of farm safety

How to help: Things can be done to help paramedics if an incident occurs in a remote area. Photo: Courtesy of NSW Ambulance
How to help: Things can be done to help paramedics if an incident occurs in a remote area. Photo: Courtesy of NSW Ambulance

NSW Ambulance paramedics are reminding farmers to take safety precautions when around livestock, following a recent weekend of several serious incidents.

Paramedics were called to a property at Narrabri at 9.30am on Saturday, September 16 following reports a 54-year-old man had been trampled and gored by a bull, suffering serious chest and rib injuries. The patient was treated by paramedics before being airlifted by NSW Ambulance and Westpac Rescue Helicopter to Tamworth Base Hospital in a serious condition.

At 10.50am, a 69-year-old man was injured after being knocked over by sheep. He was treated by paramedics before being transported to Mudgee Hospital in a stable condition.

The alarm was raised again at 2.30pm following reports a 33-year-old man had come off his motorbike on a cattle grid on Killarney Gap Road at Narrabri. Paramedics treated him at the scene for leg and pelvic injuries before he was airlifted by NSW Ambulance and Westpac Rescue Helicopter to Tamworth Base Hospital in a serious but stable condition.

At 4.30pm the same day, paramedics were called to the showground at Stroud following reports a 21-year-old man had been trampled by a bull. He suffered leg and shoulder injuries and was airlifted by NSW Ambulance and Westpac Rescue Helicopter to John Hunter Hospital in a stable condition.

NSW Ambulance Superintendent Steve Flanagan said farms can be dangerous places, with incidents involving livestock and vehicles such as quad bikes and tractors leading to significant injuries and even death.

“A few safety precautions will help minimise injuries and loss of livelihood and – worse - life,” he said.

NSW Ambulance data shows since July 1, 2015, paramedics responded to 152 incidents involving cows and 106 involving bulls. These figures also included rodeo riders and motorists colliding with livestock. Paramedics attended 319 incidents involving quad bikes and 115 involving tractors.

Supt Flanagan said when working with livestock, ensure escape routes are clear and accessible, to avoid being trapped or crushed. Also, avoid working alone when loading or unloading stock.

“If you’re not adequately trained to be around the animals or have a level of experience that allows you to fully appreciate possible risks to work with them, you shouldn’t be. Suitable clothing and footwear is also a must, especially around yards, sheds and crushes,” Supt Flanagan said.

“The terrain should also be assessed before using a tractor or quad bike, to avoid rollovers, whether that be on a large productive farm or a smaller rural property” he said.

“Often, these vehicles are used in remote locations and if a person becomes trapped, it can be many hours before the alarm can be raised and help arrives, so ensure someone knows where you are.”

Supt Flanagan said that, in the case of serious injury, people should contact Triple Zero (000), ask for Ambulance and stay on the phone with the call taker who will provide first aid instructions.

Advice includes:

  • If a person loses consciousness, the airway should be checked to ensure it is open and the patient is breathing normally. If breathing normally, place the patient in the recovery position. If not, start CPR.
  • For head, neck or spinal/back injuries, do not move the patient. If the airway is compromised, carefully place the patient on their side, supporting the head.
  • Limb fractures – keep the patient comfortable while awaiting arrival of paramedics.
  • Any injury involving breathing difficulties – sit the patient upright, loosen any tight clothing, and instruct the patient to take any medication, as prescribed by a doctor, if applicable.
  • Cardiac arrest – commence CPR.

To assist paramedics in that attend remote locations, provide as much information as possible when speaking to the Triple Zero (000) call taker, such as landmarks. To further assist  in identifying the location, people are also encouraged to download the Emergency+ smartphone application. The app—free to download from iTunes, Google Play and the Windows store—assists the caller in dialing Triple Zero (000) and displays the GPS coordinates of the phone’s location for the caller to relay to the call taker.