BLACK CAB drivers are set to receive medical training to help them deal with acid and terrorist attacks as well as other serious emergencies.
Taxi booking app mytaxi has put together a free online, in-house training programme to encourage the, “health, safety and people skills” of the 17,500 hackney drivers in the capital.
The Knowledge+ programme features life-saving techniques, such as how to perform CPR and how to use a defibrillator.
This initiative will equip drivers with essential new skills to cope with emergency situations and will certainly help to make Londoners feel safer. If there is an emergency situation, like a terrorist attack, this will hopefully give them the equipment to know how to deal with this sort of situation. Volunteers will also be taught how to deal with emergencies such as acid attacks, choking, strokes and severe bleeding.
St John Ambulance (SJA), which is supporting the mytaxi course, has also made a series of First Aid training videos, which will be available to taxi drivers.
SJA clinical director Alan Weir said: “We are very excited by this partnership and to be able to access 17,500 black cabs across London. Having the access to specialist medical knowledge and training really can make a difference between a life lost and a life saved.”
Chris Phillips, former head of the National Counter Terrorism Security Office, will advise the Knowledge+ programme on counter-terrorist techniques and security training. And a psychologist will also give tips on body language to help taxi drivers deal more effectively with stressful encounters.
Mr Phillips said: ‘London faces threat from terrorism, which are changing at an unprecedented pace. But you can pretty much guarantee that whenever an incident happens in the capital, a black cab will be at the scene or nearby. Professionalising their response is a brilliant way to help keep Londoners safe.”
Taxi drivers will be trained in how best to respond to terror situations, such as the London Bridge attack in June, where one cabbie, who took a group of women to safety, said: “I found three terrified girls who had been in the Wheatsheaf (pub) when the attackers were smashing the windows in. Got them all home safely and returned to ferry others away from the area.”
Taxi drivers have voiced their support for the training programme, including licensed hackney cabbie Jim Kent, who said: “With the correct training, cabbies will know if they see an emergency they can act immediately, rather than just drive past.”
Mytaxi UK general manager Andy Batty said:
The Knowledge+ will build on the world’s most respected taxi training course by equipping thousands of London black cab drivers with a series of essential new skills. The initiative will have input from health, crisis and body language experts with the ambition of becoming an industry benchmark for training excellence.
Michelle Kerrigan, national partnership manager for St John Ambulance said: “London taxi drivers are increasingly first on the scene in an emergency and we know that administering First Aid in those crucial first few minutes can be the difference between life and death.”