Call for first-aid gear on buses

OLIVIA CARVILLE
Last updated 05:00 24/01/2013
Paul Barsby
Dean Kozanic

CUT UP: Paul Barsby, 60, grazed his shin trying to climb aboard a bus.

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A 60-year-old man is frustrated at the lack of first-aid equipment on public transport after he was left sitting on the side of the road "holding his skin together" when he grazed his shin trying to board a bus.

Paul Barsby had to receive hospital treatment after he tripped climbing on to a bus yesterday.

He was on his way to work at 6.30am when a Blue Line bus pulled up to the kerb near Northwood.

As he was stepping on to the bus, the driver lowered the vehicle and Barsby lost his balance, slid down the metal stairs and landed on the road.

The injured grandfather was bleeding and using both hands to "keep my skin pinched together" when he asked the driver for a first-aid kit and was shocked to find buses did not carry them.

"The bus driver had no first-aid ability and when he saw the blood gushing out he started trembling," Barsby said.

Barsby's partner picked him up from the bus stop and took him to Christchurch Hospital, where he was treated for cuts.

"I think public buses should carry first-aid equipment," he said. "We don't fly on planes without it and lots of people travel on buses. What if it had been an old lady who had slipped?"

Barsby planned to file an accident report with the NZ Transport Agency over the incident.

Go Bus, which operates Blue Line buses, said it was not required to carry first-aid equipment.

"We comply with the rules and we have good communication with the emergency response services," a spokesman said.

Red Bus chief executive Paul McNoe said about 400 company drivers were issued with basic first-aid kits four years ago.

"The number of injuries on buses are very minor and I don't recall any of the kits being used as a matter of need," he said.

Although there are no laws forcing public buses to carry first-aid equipment, the New Zealand Bus and Coach Association encouraged it.

Chief executive Philip Manning said the association's health and safety document suggested drivers have first-aid kits and training, but whether the advice was taken was up to operators.

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- The Press

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