Scots farmers team up with air ambulance charity for initiative

A potentially life-saving initiative to help rural workers pinpoint their exact location in an emergency is being launched by NFU Scotland and Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance (SCAA), working alongside the Scottish Ambulance Service.

Statistics show that those employed in the rural and agricultural industries across Scotland face the greatest danger of accident or mishap of all professions. And when the worst happens in remote and isolated areas, getting help quickly to the right location is of paramount importance.

Now the Union and SCAA are encouraging farmers, crofters, landowners and other rural workers to adopt an easy-to-use grid reference system which will help define accurately their location when summoning help.

By carrying a pocket-sized card detailing the grid reference of key landmarks on their land, which are clearly visible to emergency responders, anyone involved in an accident can pass on an accurate location to emergency services, allowing help to find them easily.

The reference point cards - detailing unique landmarks such as lochs, prominent hills, masts, water features, churches, bridges or road features - can be copied and kept in multiple locations by everyone on the farm, including on the farm vehicles, in workers’ pockets or pasted to the back of their mobile phones.

NFU Scotland’s regional co-ordinator Lisa Roberts, welcomed the opportunity to work with SCAA and help promote the initiative.

She commented: “With the number of accidents increasing in the agricultural industry year on year, a simple tool like knowing a suitable location for the emergency services to find a casualty could potentially save time and in turn lives.

“Farming communities, especially those in more rural and remote areas, rely heavily on the services of responders such as SCAA and by working together to raise awareness of the importance of the identification of accurate locations, we can hopefully help emergency services locate the casualty quickly.

“I hope farmers, crofters and landowners up and down the country will get on board and have this sort of information available if they ever need to use it. Creating their own unique card of reference points is so easy to do, but can be crucial to allow the emergency services to reach a patient as quickly as possible.”

Pauline Howie, Chief Executive, Scottish Ambulance Service, added:“Our air and road ambulance teams respond to 999 calls for assistance on farms across Scotland. While they are supported by sophisticated mapping and GPS systems, any additional information from the scene that highlights local landmarks will help crews locate patients as quickly as possible.”

The initiative has the potential to be rolled out to other countryside users in the future.