How to be overtaken by a 999 vehicle

Am I legally obliged to move over for emergency vehicles?

The Highway Code states that you should ‘consider the route of such a vehicle and take appropriate action to let it pass, while complying with all traffic signs’.

Rule 219 of the Highway Code states that drivers should “look and listen for ambulances, fire engines, police, doctors or other emergency vehicles using flashing blue, red or green lights and sirens or flashing headlights, or traffic officer and incident support vehicles using flashing amber lights.”

What counts as an emergency vehicle?

An emergency vehicle is classed as a vehicle used:

  • for police purposes (but not necessarily a police vehicle, e.g. search and rescue)
  • for firefighting purposes (but not necessarily a fire brigade vehicle) including local councils and the Forestry Commission as well as fire salvage work
  • for ambulance purposes (but not necessarily an ambulance vehicle, e.g. cave rescue) including the movement of sick, injured or disabled people and for moving human organs
  • for bomb disposal
  • for nuclear accidents
  • for mountain rescue
  • by the Royal Air Force Armament Support Unit
  • by the National Blood Service
  • by HM Coastguard
  • for mine rescue
  • by the RNLI for launching lifeboats
  • by HM Revenue and Customs for serious crime
  • by the military special forces (e.g. the SAS) for a national security emergency

How to be overtaken safely

When you spot an emergency vehicle approaching with its lights flashing you should consider the route it is likely to take, then take an appropriate action to let it pass.

You can pull to the side of the road and stop but you must avoid doing this on a bend, narrow section of the road or before the brow of a hill, which could put the emergency vehicle into the path of oncoming traffic.

Even when you are in the process of letting an emergency vehicle pass, it is important to continue obeying nearby traffic signs, because you will still be liable to prosecution if you break any motoring laws, while allowing an emergency vehicle to pass by.

Also, avoid mounting the kerb, braking harshly on the approach to a junction or roundabout. Using your driving awareness, avoid any action that could put pedestrians or other road users in danger.

No driver should move into a bus lane or run a red light move out of the way for an emergency vehicle – this could land you a fine if you do. The 999 crews know that motorists are not allowed to ‘jump’ a red light. The only exception would be if a uniformed police officer directed a motorist through a red traffic signal.

It is advised that drivers do not overtake emergency vehicles while on pursuit and, if one has passed them to wait and follow at a safe distance.

If you are on a road with solid white lines then keep driving at the speed limit as the emergency vehicle will wait until you’re past the white lines. Usually the vehicle’s sirens will come back on and it will overtake.

Drivers should also keep going on an approach to a bend or brow of a hill, until the road ahead is clear.

Always check your mirrors to see what signals the emergency response vehicle might be making. If it is a police car, look carefully, as it may be signalling you to stop.

Are you Blue Light Aware?

Do Emergency Vehicles have to follow any rules?

With ambulances now expected to reach the most seriously ill patients in an average time of seven minutes, there is more pressure to reach destinations faster. 

But drivers of emergency vehicles have laws and rules they must follow, even in an emergency. These rules are in place so as not to force other road users into illegal manoeuvres.

For example, emergency vehicles should turn their sirens off at junctions while traffic lights are on red, to avoid encouraging other drivers to jump a red light.

Most drivers of emergency vehicles undergo advanced driving courses and official training is required if that driver wants exemption from speed limits, where necessary.

They are granted certain exemptions from the law in emergency circumstances, including:

  • They can disobey the speed limit.
  • Pass on the wrong side of a keep left bollard.
  • Treat red traffic lights as a give way sign.
  • Drive on a motorway hard shoulder, even against the direction of traffic.
  • They can use bus lanes, even if in use to reduce the effect of congestion on public transport.

However, there are also many laws emergency vehicles cannot ignore, even when answering a 999 call. They should not:

  • Ignore ‘stop’ or ‘give way’ signs.
  • Ignore ‘no entry’ signs.
  • Drive through a one-way street in the wrong direction.
  • Ignore flashing signs at level crossings or fire stations.
  • Fail to stop if involved in a Road Traffic Accident
  • Cross a solid white line down the middle of the road. That is unless, like for other road users, it is done to pass a stationary vehicle, slow-moving cyclist or horse, or a road maintenance vehicle.
  • Fail to obey traffic lights controlling a Railway Level crossing or Fire station
  • Drive without a seat belt
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Burns and scalds are damage to the skin usually caused by heat. Both are treated in the same way. A burn is caused by dry heat – by an iron or fire, for example. A scald is caused by something wet, such as hot water or steam.

Burns Categorisation

First-degree burns affect only the outer skin layer. The skin is red, slightly swollen and painful to touch. Sunburn usually falls into this category

Second-degree burns go into the second skin layer and appear as blisters on red, splotchy skin

Third-degree burns involve all layers of the skin – even underlying tissue. These serious burns are often painless due to nerve destruction. They appear as charred black or dry and white areas.

Treating Burns

What NOT to do

  • Put ice, butter, grease, ointments, creams or oils on a burn
  • Peel of any clothes, or break any blisters
  • Burst any blisters
  • Use fluffy materials – example: cotton wool, which will stick to the burned area

Patient Care – Major Burns

  1. Help the patient lie down ensuring the burnt area does not come into contact with the ground;
  2. Douse the burnt area with cool liquid for at least 20 minutes;
  3. Carefully remove clothing from around the burnt area and remove any constricting items such as watches, belts etc. before swelling begins;
  4. Cover burns with a sterile dressing – Cling film applied lengthways works great;
  5. For burns to the airway, loosen clothing around the neck, offer ice or small sips of cold water;
  6. Continue to monitor the patients’s medical status using the Cycle of Care until Emergency Services arrives;
  7. Monitor and record vital signs whilst managing the patient for shock

Patient Care – Minor Burns (first degree and small second-degree)

  1. Flush or soak the burn in cool water for at least 20 minutes and where possible, remove any jewellery, watches, belts or constricting items from the injured area before it begins to swell
  2. Cover with cling film, a burns dressing or if the burn is on a hand or inserted into a sterile plastic bag.
  3. Never rush to dress a burn as the most important treatment is to cool the burn under cool running water.
  4. Check burn daily for signs of infection – redness, tenderness or presence of pus (yellowish or greenish fluid at wound site)
  5. Have all burns assessed by a medical professional.

Rutland First Aid Training provides this information for guidance and it is not in any way a substitute for medical advice. Rutland First Aid Training is not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made, or actions taken based on this information.

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Fire Extinguisher in Car

Fire Extinguishers are they required in Company Vehicles?

Background to Post

When running our Scene Assessments as part of our First Aid Courses we often discuss what we would do in a Road Traffic accident that involved fire. Yes of course we would ring 999 and ask for all the relevant services but just how would you help those poor individuals trapped.

Well with a Fire Extinguisher, but just where do you get one of those from? Do you have one in your car or work vehicle? What are the rules about business vehicles and fire extinguishers?

We set out to answer those questions in one definitive post.

Work place legislation that covers Business Vehicles

So, with more and more business being conducted on our roads; be it transporting goods, a mobile workplace that brings the business to a customer (anyone from dog groomer, plumber, mobile hairdresser, electrician, shop fitters so on and so forth as the list is endless), or simply travelling from place to place on business

Employers have a number of legal requirements to satisfy, procedures to implement and documentation to record and keep. It can be a minefield knowing what your legal requirements are and tough to find the answers. One such struggle is knowing just what your responsibilities are when it comes to Health and Safety in business vehicles.

FSO2005 Regulations

As we have found there is plenty of contradicting information out there from different sources, many claiming that your business vehicle is classed as a ‘workplace’ and therefore must follow FSO2005 and the requirements set out in it. We have to say until we carried out the formal research on this – that is what we also thought! But it seems that in most cases, claiming that company vehicles are a ‘workplace’ and therefore require fire extinguishers is incorrect.

A business vehicle is NOT required by law to have a fire extinguisher installed under FSO2005 as that act does not apply to vehicles that are licensed under Vehicle Excise and Registration Act 1994 or exempt from duty. Most road vehicles fall into this category.

However there is a requirement for businesses to conduct a Health and Safety assessment and this should include a fire risk assessment and quite often your health and safety risk assessment will highlight the need for a fire extinguisher and adequate training in its use.

Fire extinguisher character saying "Nothing to worry about here I have got this"

The requirements for which kind of fire extinguishers to use in a business vehicle will vary depending on the type of vehicle, use, content and size. e.g. a car used for travelling between premises may only need a small 1kg Dry Powder Extinguisher, or may not even need one at all if your risk assessment doesn’t see the need. But, a larger van or truck being used to transfer goods or chemicals will have very different requirements, and will need one or more larger extinguishers.

The HSE sets out these requirements but we would recommend you contact a Fire Safety company who will assist you with your requirements.

Dangerous Goods

Carriage of dangerous goods by road in the United Kingdom is carefully regulated by two pieces of legislation:

  • The Carriage of Dangerous Goods and Use of Transportable Pressure Equipment Regulations 2009 (CDG regs); and
  • The ADR which is the European agreement concerning the international transport of Dangerous Goods by Road (ADR). It sets provisions for the safe transport of dangerous goods by road. If your products are classified as dangerous goods and would like to transport them by road, you must comply with the provisions in the ADR

The regulations set out a set of guidelines for all vehicles carrying substances or goods classified as hazardous, including guidelines on providing adequate fire protection equipment such fire extinguishers.

So what is meant by a ‘hazardous’ load?

 Hazardous substances are classified as any of the following:

  • Class 1 Explosive substances and articles
  • Class 2 Gases
  • Class 3 Flammable liquids
  • Class 4.1 Flammable solids, self-reactive substances, polymerizing substances and solid desensitized explosives
  • Class 4.2 Substances liable to spontaneous combustion
  • Class 4.3 Substances which, in contact with water, emit flammable gases
  • Class 5.1 Oxidizing substances
  • Class 5.2 Organic peroxides
  • Class 6.1 Toxic substances
  • Class 6.2 Infectious substances
  • Class 7 Radioactive material
  • Class 8 Corrosive substances
  • Class 9 Miscellaneous dangerous substances and articles

Each entry in the list has been assigned a specific UN number.

Where vehicles are carrying, or are sometimes required to carry, any hazardous material, fire extinguishing equipment must be provided.  The size and number of fire extinguishers required varies according to the vehicle’s maximum gross weight, but is summarised in the following table: 

Transport Unit
Maximum Permissible
Number of
Fire Extinguishers
total capacity
per transport unit
Extinguisher suitable
for engine or cab fire
At least one with a minimum
capacity of
Additional extinguisher(s)
requirement. At least
one should have a min
capacity of
Up to 3.5 Tonnes24Kg2Kg2Kg
3.5 to 7.5 Tonnes28KG2KG6KG
Over 7.5 Tonnes212KG2KG6KG

The capacities in the table are for dry power devices (or an equivalent capacity for any other suitable extinguishing agent)


  • A 3.5t Mercedes Sprinter carrying a hazardous substance must carry 2 fire extinguishers totalling a minimum of 4kg weight, including one with at least 2kg Dry Powder dedicated for a cab or engine fire.  In this instance, 2 x 2kg Dry Powder fire extinguishers would be an acceptable minimum.
  • A 44 ton curtain sided articulated truck must also have 2 extinguishers on board, with a minimum total capacity of 12kg of Dry Powder.  One must be specifically for a cab or engine fire, and must hold at least 2kg of Dry Powder.  You must then provide an additional 10kg of Dry Powder, with no extinguisher containing less than 6kg of Dry Powder.  An common setup is a 3kg Dry Powder in the cab, with 1 x 9kg Dry Powder unit mounted on the trailer.  If the tractor unit (cab) is sometimes used with other trailers, you must fit an additional 9kg unit to the cab, to ensure even if the trailer has no extinguisher fitted the whole vehicle complies.  The additional 9kg Dry Powder is normally mounted in a Single Extinguisher Cabinet on the back of the cab.

General Points

Note that Dry Powder fire extinguishers are specifically referenced.  This is due to their multi-class fire rating – their ability to tackle nearly every classification of fire, including Class A (flammable solids such as wood, paper and textiles), Class B (flammable liquids) and Class C (flammable gases), as well as being completely safe for use on live electrical equipment.  Other types of extinguisher can be used, but they must have similar or better fire fighting capabilities, both in respect of the types of fires they can tackle, and their overall fire ratings.

Another key point is that the fire extinguishers should be subject to a system of regular inspection in accordance with authorised national standards in order to guarantee their functional safety.  Here in the UK the standard that they must be inspected to is BS5306 Part 3.

The final notable point on the ADR Regulations which must be considered stipulates that fire extinguishers must be installed in such a way so as to prevent the effects of the weather compromising the operational performance of the fire extinguishers.  The extinguisher for the cab is generally mounted inside the cab, covering this point perfectly.  However, fire extinguishers too big for in-cab mounting, or extinguishers mounted on the trailer, must be adequately protected.  This is normally done by mounting inside a weather-sealed fire extinguisher cabinet. 

A range of sizes and styles is available, from traditional ‘front loading’ cabinets, to the ‘top loaders’ that have been specifically designed for mounting on vehicles.  These ‘top loaders’ offer the very best protection for fire extinguishers on vehicles.

Our Recommendation

Of course, your vehicle doesn’t have to carry dangerous goods for it to be a good idea to carry a fire extinguisher!  Fire can strike without warning, and a vehicle fire quickly turns to a complete loss of the vehicle if not tackled fast and early.  If you rely on your vehicle, don’t take the chance – make sure you have an adequate and operational fire extinguisher handy at all times.  You never know when you might need it, even to help someone else!

In our opinion it seems to us a good idea to always carry a fire extinguisher

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Choking in children

The shape and size of the food we eat could increase the chances of choking. Foods such as grapes, mini tomatoes, popcorn, peanuts and the small decorations on the tops of fairy cakes can lead to choking as they are all potential choking hazards particularly for children

Fact 85% of choking deaths are caused by food

Many schools and nurseries ban grapes from packed lunches due to the high potential for choking, but all you have to do is avoid perfect circles by cutting the food lengthways i.e. batons.

However, it is easy to forget that some chocolates and sweets can be a choking hazard for exactly the same reason- they are the perfect shape to be inhaled into the trachea(windpipe)

Did you know that Cadbury Mini Easter Eggs have a warning on the back of the package, which states that chocolate should not be consumed by children under the age of four

It is not just mini eggs, but Maltesers and Smarties have the potential to be a choking hazard in very small children to.

How to respond to a child or infant is choking

First relax and then if you think they are choking ask them “Are you choking?”

If they can breathe, speak or cough then they might be able to clear their own throat. If not then they need your help straight away

Back Blows

In an infant

  • First of all support the infant in a head-downwards, prone position, to enable gravity to assist removal of the foreign body; then
  • Sit or kneel as you should be able to support the infant safely across your lap
  • Now support the infant’s head by placing the thumb of one hand at the angle of the lower jaw, and one or two fingers from the same hand at the same point on the other side of the jaw
  • And deliver up to 5 sharp back blows with the heel of one hand in the middle of the back between the shoulder blades
  • The aim is to relieve the obstruction with each blow rather than give all 5

In a child over 1 year

  • Back blows are more effective if the child is positioned head down
  • A small child may be placed across your lap as with an infant, but if this is not possible, support the child in a forward, learning position and deliver the back blows from behind

If a back blow fails to dislodge the object and the child is still conscious, use chest thrusts for infants or abdominal thrust for children.

Chest Thrusts

In a child over 1 year

  • Stand or kneel behind the child and place your arms under the child’s arms and encircle their torso.
  • Now clench your fist and place it just above your child’s navel but below the tip of the breastbone
  • Place your other hand over the outside of the fist then bend your arms and elbows outward to avoid squeezing the ribcage and perform up to five quick inward and upward thrusts
  • Repeat up to 4 more times
  • The aim is to relieve the obstruction with each thrust rater than to give all 5

If the object has not been expelled and the victim is still conscious, continue with the sequence of back blows and chest (for infant) or abdominal (for children) thrusts

Call out or send for help but if none is immediately available then UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES LEAVE THE CHILD!

If the object has been expelled, assess the child as it is possible that part of the object is still in the airway and can cause complications, but if there is any doubt then seek medical attention.

IF the infant or child becomes unconscious begin CPR and call 999

About Us

Rutland First Aid Training provides a full suite of first aid training all tailored to your needs. We strongly recommend that everyone should have some basic first aid skills, so why not attend one of our paediatric courses, for example our one day Care for Children course

Rutland First Aid Training provides this information for guidance and it is not in any way a substitute for medical advice. Rutland First Aid Training is not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made, or actions taken based on this information.

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Bespoke First Aid Course for Coral Conservation Expedition

Just what is a Bespoke First Aid Course?

This course can be pretty much anything you want it to be. Today we tailored a Bespoke training course for an individual who had previously completed a few first aid courses. Their requirement were to ‘top up’ and recap over their existing knowledge as they are about to go off on expedition where they will be working at sea undertaking coral research in a very remote location. The goal was to ensure that they were equipped to be able to respond to some of the first aid incidents that had been identified as possible.

Working at remote locations from a few small boats where the main “mothership” boat could be moored anything from 5 to 45 mins away raises additional challenges. This means that being able to respond effectively and preserve life to the point where you are able to transfer your patient to the mothership where there is a full operating room and a medical doctor on board could well be life critical. Combine this with the fact that the nearest hospital or decompression chamber are days away not just hours and you realise the importance of getting things right.

The Brief for this Bespoke First Aid Course

The brief was to recap on all things Primary First Aid, so

  • Scene Safety Assessment
  • Universal Precautions
  • Primary Assessment
  • Airway Management
  • Rescue Breathing
  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)
  • Conscious and Unconscious Obstructed Airway Management
  • Serious Bleeding Management
  • Shock Management
  • Automated External Defibrillation (AED)

Then secondary care was to cover:

  • Urchin Stings
  • Trauma – large marine bites and loss of limbs
  • Heat Stroke and Heat Exhaustion
  • Dehydration
  • Coral Stings
  • Diabetes

And finally how to deploy Oxygen and treatment for divers, but for all skill to be adapted to be able to be delivered in the confined space of a small boat and with the skills to transfer the patient to the bigger boat.


We had a great day with lots of practise and what if scenario’s and our instructors applying their extensive knowledge and adapting skills to fit, which leaves us to wish Bry and his expedition team a great and safe trip

Whatever your requirements our highly skilled in-house team are always happy to help and advise, just get in touch to discuss

Watch our friends at Dive Rutland social media and blogs as you might be seeing some amazing pictures coming out of this expedition!

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