October 23rd, 2011 saw Rodge Byrne and Nick Coward run the first ever ‘First Bike on Scene’ (FBoS) course in Ireland. Having negotiated with the North West Ambulance Service (UK) to bring FBoS to Ireland, their commercial director oversaw the inaugural course. NWAS (UK) paramedics developed the course originally, recognising the need to equip bikers with a specific set of skills to deal with motorcycle crash injuries. Rodge and Nick both come from a background in acute health care as well as adult education.
While there has been an overall decline in road fatalities in recent years, motorcyclists remain one of the most vulnerable road user groups. Any family who has lost a loved one will know the void a death leaves, and more so a traumatic one!
The one-day course is primarily aimed at motorcyclists, but is also open to other road users. It teaches life / limb saving skills in the event of a Road Traffic Collision. The day starts with trauma theory and then progresses to practical scenario-based training around safe scene management, head- /neck-and spinal injuries as well as helmet removal in certain circumstances. Participants then complete a skills assessment and once successfully completed, receive certification from FBoS UK Ltd and the Irish Heart Foundation. In 2013 we added the assessment for catastrophic blood loss.
We invested in a vacuum mattress, an orthopaedic stretcher as well as a spinal board. This allows participants to be familiar with the equipment while practising skills, so they can assist paramedics at the scene. The course reflects current pre-hospital emergency care standards. FBOS recertification is on a 3-yearly basis, whilst Irish Heart Foundation is two-yearly.
The Irish Motorcyclist’s Association along with the Police Service Northern Ireland’s BikeSafe Team remain our most important partners. In 2016 we were invited to join the Bike Buyers Guide for periodicals about FBOS and Principal Insurance continue to offer a discount to anyone who successfully passed the training.
We attend a number of motorcycle events during the year with the Motorcycle Festival of Northern Ireland being our biggest stage in partnership with the PSNI BikeSafe Team. Highlight of 2018 was an invitation to present at the Emergency Services Show in Birmingham.
Having trained around a 1000 people, we are proud to have great relationships with individual bikers, clubs, Blood Bikers, Bike Marshalls, the Biker’s Shed and others.
We would like to thank everyone who helped us make ‘First Bike on Scene-Emergency Response Skills’ – Ireland happen – particularly the course participants! It has been great working with you all!
Rodge, Nick and Berni