WHEN you live and work on an isolated station in outback Queensland medical help can be a long way away so having first-hand knowledge of what to do in an emergency is essential.
On Saturday, April 13 workers from five outback stations attended a Royal Flying Doctors Service (RFDS) Field Day at Roxborough Downs Station to learn first aid skills important to isolated regions.
About 25 people from Roxborough Downs, Headingley, Oban, Kallala and Alderley stations attended the all-day training session.
The session covered many different issues specifically related to the most common incidents that occur on remote sta- tions.
RFDS medical officer Don Cowley talked through topics such as what to do in the event of an RFDS medical evacuation explaining how it's essential for a person to stay by the phone at all times during a medical emergency so RFDS staff can stay in touch during the emergency.
Dr Cowley also discussed what condition an airstrip should be in so the RFDS plane can land safely and the kinds of vehicles required to transport the RFDS crew from the airstrip to the scene of the emergency.
Mt Isa flight nurse manager Fleur Brown demonstrated how to put a sling on and how to make a splint.
Ms Brown also covered the topic of snake envenomation, how to apply an immobilisation bandage and the symptoms to be aware of in the event of snake bite. Spider bites were also covered during the session.
Participants were then able to partake in a hands-on session of CPR, practising on Little Anne the CPR dummy.
Each person took a turn doing two minutes of compressions and two minutes of breathing.
The group then moved outside and were instructed on how to give an injection using oranges.
Roxborough Downs station managers Steve and Bridget Gaff and station owners JK and CL McLoughlin were very supportive of the field day.
Mrs Gaff said they had had a couple of medical emergencies earlier in the year when they had to call on the services of the RFDS so when the RFDS approached them to host a field day they were eager to take part.
"It's very important to us to have our staff trained in first aid and know they would feel confident in an emergency situation,' Mrs Gaff said.
"It's great to see our staff getting hands-on learning how to give an injection. They may not ever have to do it here, but their skills may come in handy somewhere, sometime," she said.
The day came to a conclusion with a make-believe scenario of a motorbike accident covering how to safely remove a helmet, how to get a patient into the recovery position and how to get the patient onto a stretcher.
The RFDS crew then demonstrated how to safely get the stretcher onto the back of a ute and transport it to the plane and finally how a stretcher is loaded onto the plane.
The Mt Isa RFDS has been operating since 1964 when it was relocated from its birthplace in Cloncurry.
The base operates a 24/7 evacuation team consisting of a pilot, a nurse and a doctor.
Nurse manager Fleur Brown said the base host five field days a year sponsored by QANTAS.
"The RFDS are very important to rural communities and are at their busiest during mustering season," Ms Brown said.
"The field days are important because people in remote communities get to meet the RFDS crew on an even platform instead of in an emergency situation," she said.
"The rural community can also provide us with feedback on what issues are important to them so we can include those issues in our field day training and provide them with the skills they need to cope and look after an injured person before we arrive."
The Mount Isa RFDS covers an area of about 500,000sq km and completes about 423 medical evacuations a year.
In an emergency call the Mt Isa RFDS on (087) 4743 2802 or to host a RFDS field day call the base on (07) 4743 2800.
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