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Bariatric Rescues… The Challenges and Solutions

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According to a report from the NHS (Statistics on Obesity, Physical Activity and Diet – England, 2017), the UK is facing a real crisis regarding obesity. The report states that in 2015, 58% of women and 68% of men were classified as overweight or obese, and overall obesity prevalence had increased from 15% in 1993 to 27% in 2015.

This obviously has massive repercussions for the Fire and Rescue Service, and according to figures obtained from the BBC in 2016, the number of bariatric rescues has gone up by more than a third in just three years. Often, fire crews are called upon by the Ambulance Service to assist in cases where patients are too large to use conventional lifting equipment and in some instances, they have had to remove windows, banisters and even walls to evacuate someone. 

Your stories from The Emergency Services Show

At Ruth Lee Ltd, we are committed to providing you with the most effective tools for your training and are always keen to hear about the experiences faced by fire crews. At the Emergency Services Show, the most frequent discussion we had with visitors to our stand was ‘bariatric rescues’ and specifically, who is responsible for these, the lack of training available and the risks to personnel in performing bariatric extrication.

We were amazed by some of the stories we heard – One crew told us about an incident where the casualty was wedged in a stairwell after falling, with not even an inch to get equipment between her and the wall. We also heard the sad story where a lady died from a heart attack because paramedics could not treat her quickly enough whilst crews battled to free her from a cast-iron bath.

Another important point discussed with our visitors is the health and safety of crew members attempting to help a bariatric casualty. Whether evacuating a larger person from the cab of an articulated lorry, or from a 10th storey flat – each rescue requires physical strength and manual handling skills to help minimise the risk of injury to the crew. In a true emergency such as a fire, having a ‘tried and tested’ plan for emergency evacuation of bariatrics is essential.  With a growing population it’s vital that your teams feel adequately prepared to face a bariatric rescue in such an emergency. 

Sharing best-practice and resources 

Our colleagues in both the fire and ambulance services have expressed frustration in the lack of bariatric specific training and how a poorly coordinated response puts lives at risk. Clearly, some regions in the UK are working closely with their colleagues in the fire or ambulance service and it was apparent that a lot can be learnt from sharing resources, and that training to ensure a consistent and effective approach is vital to bariatric rescue.

This is one of the reasons we have developed a full bariatric range of manikins. With manikins weighing in at 90, 180 and 260kgs, the lighter manikin is perfect where you require the bulk of a bariatric without excessive weight. Our manikins are weighted in an anatomically correct way and have been supplied to crews across the UK for more than 10 years.

With an increased focus on Health and Safety, we also wanted to offer a product where just one trainer could safely move and handle a manikin to set up a bariatric rescue scenario – hence our Water-fillable Bariatric Suit was designed. This product fits over a Duty range manikin and allows the trainer to carry and position a manikin in place, and then add up to 150kgs of weight using water. This lets you place the manikin in some very realistic and challenging training scenarios. We have personally tested it at Outreach Rescue, including rescue from a vehicle, a confined toilet cubicle and a bath. 

Hire or Buy (UK Only)

From September 2017 we will be offering our customers in the UK both a hire or a buy option on our standard 90, 180 and 260kgs Bariatric Manikins.

We understand that sometimes your bariatric training requirements are not weekly or even monthly and therefore you might want to consider loaning a Bariatric Manikin for a week or two instead of buying one.

The cost of hiring includes delivery of the manikin to a designated premises, and you can arrange your own courier to return the manikin once you are done. For more information on hiring a bariatric manikin please call 01490 413 282 or email National Sales Manager Stuart Cheetham stuart@ruthlee.co.uk

Share your experiences…

We are always keen to hear about your experiences – after all, this knowledge is what has allowed us to create the range of products available today.

Each and every product in our range has been influenced by the feedback we receive from rescue professionals who are using them on a daily basis.

If you have any feedback on our manikins or would like to share your training experiences, please complete our short survey

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