Feeling ill on the train? Don’t pull the emergency cord!
That’s the message from Greater Anglia and the East of England Ambulance Service (EEAST) on how best to treat passengers if they get sick during their journey.
For the first time, the two organisations have worked out a policy on how to deal with medical emergencies on trains.
Last year, trains were delayed by the equivalent of seven days due to passengers becoming ill on trains on the Greater Anglia network.
If a passenger pulls the emergency cord, the train might stop between stations and become inaccessible for a conventional ambulance.
Medical help will arrive more quickly at a station, where the passenger can be taken off the train and treated, Greater Anglia says.
The operator has released a video, advising passengers on what action to take, should they or fellow travellers fall ill on board a train.
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Spokesman Richard Dean said: “We want the best for our customers – and this includes making sure that if they fall ill on a train they get help as soon as possible.”
Gary Morgan, of EEAST, said: “During a life-threatening emergency it is important to stay calm and take actions that will help the patient. Pulling the emergency cord and stopping the train between stations will make it more difficult for ambulance staff to reach the patient.”
If someone becomes ill on a train and it’s a life-threatening emergency, passengers should dial 999 for an ambulance.
“Please listen to and answer the questions asked by the emergency call handler as this will enable us to send the nearest and most appropriate response and provide advice on what to do until the ambulance service arrives.
“The ambulance service is for emergencies such as cardiac arrests, patients with chest pain or breathing difficulties, traumatic injuries, severe allergic reactions, chokings, severe burns and unconsciousness.”
Passengers should also alert any staff on board or contact Greater Anglia via Twitter.
When the train arrives at the next station, unless staff are already dealing with the ill person, passengers should alert the station staff. The ill passenger should be helped off the train.
Greater Anglia Control staff will liaise with the ambulance service to work out the best place to take the ill passenger off the train, taking into account access and availability and location of ambulance staff.