My Story: Roadside Emergency Accident Simulation

Headshot of Sarah Ison
Sarah IsonBusselton Dunsborough Times
Sarah Ison was part of a road-side rescue emergency training exercise.
Camera IconSarah Ison was part of a road-side rescue emergency training exercise. Credit: Busselton Dunsborough Times, Pierra Willix.

Times journalist Sarah Ison recounts volunteering to be cut out of a car wreck as part of an emergency service exercise:

“I’m just putting a brace around your neck, OK? Stay very still and calm for me, it’s about to get loud.”

A hand on either side of my face stops me from nodding, so I stare straight on and yell out at the volunteer behind me. “No problem.”

I’ve been in the car for 10 minutes now as part of the exercise and my breath is coming out hot and humid against the mask around my face.

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I’m uncomfortable, immobile and uncertain about what exactly is to come. I see movement in my periphery as a handful of yellow-suited volunteers approach the car. They pass through some kind of blanket to the man behind me and together they cover the right side of my body. “We’re about to break the glass. This is to protect you, OK?” “No problem,” I say again.

An unexpected popping noise accompaniesThe crash of glass being broken inwards and the tinkling of shards on metal follows. I jump at the sound of metal being crunched and snapped.

The sheet is removed and, flicking my eyes to the side, I see the volunteers have already almost finished removing the door. One of them leans down and asks “What’s your name?” “Sarah,” I reply. “Do you remember how you got here, Sarah? Was anyone else involved in the accident? Can you feel any pain at the moment?”

I have to remember not to shake my headat each question. After the door is removed, volunteers flood into the car on either side of me. Together, they ease me on to the awaiting stretcher.

After placing the stretcher down, there is a pauseThis is the point where the paramedics would step in, where I’d be carried off into an ambulance. Instead, I look at the volunteers around me and sit up straight on the stretcher. “Thank you,” I say, grateful I have the luxury of ending what was just an exercise.

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