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  #11  
Old 11-09-2016
Simon Brothwood Acropolis is offline
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Regardless of if this sort of response is been offered on a commercial basis or not, then Risk Assessments etc. and everything else that was mentioned still have to be taken into account.

If you are a responder are there as part of an organised response then you, the people that sent you there, the controllers and event organisers have a legal responsibility to ensure that what you are doing is safe and correct and isn't going to put anyone in danger. Vehicles getting damaged is one thing, and can be argued it was the circumstances etc. that lead to it, unless someone does something stupid such as try to tow a car out by the windscreen wipers etc.

But if someone gets hurt, then we are all in a world of pain, regardless if we are getting paid or not.

Should we be doing this kind of thing, for free - no way, as people have said we shouldn't be here as a free/very cheap resource for organisers to call upon when it has gone wrong, but that is a commercial decision down to the local group who is providing the initial response to set commercial terms. When it comes to paying responders, if the current arrangement of more than HMRC guidelines is broken, then it becomes for hire or reward and the whole vehicle insurance situation comes in play and we are in a different ball game all together. Yes it may have been on private land, but it was publicly accessible, therefore insurance rules apply.

This is where National are needed to offer some guidance and support, not around policies on wading in water and decontamination, but on things like this, get some PROPER (and I don't mean the outcome of a trustee/council/management conversation) legal guidance and advice, the same for tax implications and also for insurance. This is what the groups need from national, something that will really help.

Given the circumstances we operate in, it is only a matter of time before something goes wrong, and someone is hurt or a vehicle is damaged and someone tries to claim for it, and then we will see what really happens, and i suspect that we will find that our insurance cover os woefully inadequate and a whole can of worms will be opened.

But back to the original thread, if the local group wants to provide this kind of service then why shouldn't they, the commercial terms are up them, and if they are happy to do it and their members are happy to respond then fair play to them.
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  #12  
Old 11-09-2016
Alison Wheeler (unaligned) AlisonW is offline
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Originally Posted by Acropolis View Post
if the local group wants to provide this kind of service then why shouldn't they
Because National should be able to negotiate better rates, which benefits us all? YMMV...
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  #13  
Old 11-09-2016
Simon Brothwood Acropolis is offline
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Originally Posted by AlisonW View Post
Because National should be able to negotiate better rates, which benefits us all? YMMV...
These are however local events, very few are organised by a single company/organisation, so it would make it very hard for national to get agreed rates across the board. Would be far easier to deal with at a local level.
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  #14  
Old 12-09-2016
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Stephen Marquis steve.herts is offline
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Some nationally drawn up, proper legal disclaimer that ensures in such instances 4x4R is viewed as a "good samaritan" organisation rather than providing a commercial service and that liability is the responsibility of the event organiser, their agent or even the individual motorist could be useful.

As someone involved in event car-parking in a past life, one immediate question springs to mind. Who are we actually assisting? Is it individual motorists? Is the parking contractor? Is it the landowner who wants their field back? Is it the main event organiser? All of them have an interest in clearing the area, but who makes the call for assistance, and who is the assistance actually for.

Big operations such as this and Glasto are a two-edged sword. Without incident, these are great ways of raising the profile of our organisation, and to some extent even helping the entire 4x4 community by being to seen to be helpful rather than the negative image from a different minority of racing along byways and churning up moorland. They can of course, be great fund-raisers too, but then there is the line between covering operating expenses and receiving a perhaps sizeable donation, and actually providing a faux-commercial service at commercial rates.

Perhaps looking at how St John Ambulance operate at such events could be useful? They provide a charged for cover service, but as a charity. Needless to say, they do have the advantage of recognised standards and training. They are also on site constantly in readiness, not simply called when the situation has degraded to a point that they have to be called in from far and wide. Certainly as a retired person having to fork out for say a BORDA qualification would possibly prevent me being a responder simply based on finances.

I appreciate that all these events and festivals have to draw a balance to maintain profitability. There is, or should be a line, drawn between volunteers and technical/professional services. Having volunteers steward events in exchange for tickets, meal vouchers etc has long been common, but the services provided by 4X4R at these events is very different, it is potentially very expensive, not just diesel, but food, drink, time, and who would use a strap after a dozen snatch recoveries as seen on TV at Glasto? I certainly wouldn't. It is also significantly more dangerous, in amongst moving traffic, on a poor surface, in the dark, and the potential liabilities are far higher, from a bumper on mums fiesta to serious personal injury and death.

Having read the thread on the radio licencing, I can understand, and even appreciate that national like to let the areas operate fairly autonomously, but whilst incidents like this prove that mutual aid between groups works well, some guidelines on policy, although not actual rules could be beneficial especially given the high profile of these events, and the potential liabilities that could affect all groups and the national umbrella.
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  #15  
Old 13-09-2016
Alison Wheeler (unaligned) AlisonW is offline
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As I see it, the answer to Stephen's question should, ideally, be that we are assisting the individual motorist in this case. The contractor, landowner, and organiser should all have known in advance that they might / would need cover and arranged it *at their cost* accordingly. Indeed there is an element of feeling / being used if they chose not to make advance arrangements despite weather forecasts which indicated a high likelihood that recovery would be required.

And yes, the liability issues are definitely to the fore and should, imho, fall upon the person or organisation which called us for assistance, preferably (definitely!) indicated via a formal signed document. The drafting of such a proforma agreement by national would appear very sensible and useful.
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  #16  
Old 13-09-2016
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Simon Bentley Simon Bentley is offline
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Originally Posted by AlisonW View Post
As I see it, the answer to Stephen's question should, ideally, be that we are assisting the individual motorist in this case. The contractor, landowner, and organiser should all have known in advance that they might / would need cover and arranged it *at their cost* accordingly. Indeed there is an element of feeling / being used if they chose not to make advance arrangements despite weather forecasts which indicated a high likelihood that recovery would be required.
But we categorically do not work for individuals - that has always been the case and is declared to our insurers as such.
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  #17  
Old 13-09-2016
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If assisting individual motorists, I can foresee problems with signed waivers. Specifically the sheer number required. 100 cars requires 200 waivers. I'm not sure how many vehicles Wessex and mutual aiders recovered this year but that is an awful lot of paperwork to file and retain.

As I understand it when operating under the auspices of a recognised organisation, the MOUs state that we operate under the liability of the organisation we are supporting to prevent just this kind of legal headache.

Operating as a good Samaritan is all well and good as an Individual, but as an organised group I would except the legal situation to be more complex as our motor insurance is supposed to specifically cover our volunteer roles, and I would presume that there is some form of liability cover as an organisation, either locally and/or nationally.

I concur that if being used in a professional manner by an event, they should treat us in a professional manner, full liability cover, and recompense/donations and prior planning in line with the service provided.

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Last edited by steve.herts; 13-09-2016 at 06:47 PM.
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  #18  
Old 13-09-2016
Alison Wheeler (unaligned) AlisonW is offline
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Originally Posted by Simon Bentley View Post
But we categorically do not work for individuals - that has always been the case and is declared to our insurers as such.
My apologies for being unclear! I was meaning that in practical terms it is the people who are stuck we are helping but arranged and on behalf of whichever of the other three requested assistance and it is the latter whom we act on behalf of and therefore need the formal agreement with, not each individual. The issue is whether we are being taken advantage of when the organising party should have known better.
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  #19  
Old 14-09-2016
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Chris Paul m3dic is offline
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Originally Posted by Simon Bentley View Post
But we categorically do not work for individuals - that has always been the case and is declared to our insurers as such.
Why? Ignoring the large events and comercial organisations for a minute. What about the stranded motorist that is on a busy arterial road that just needs protection (flashing lights and reflectives) and a tow off the carriageway or a tyre changed? Do we not help them? Do we go "na we don't help individuals, sorry love/mate"

I would suggest a large amount of us do the above fairly regularly (I did three in a day the other week!) You now tell us it's a no no. Could we not seek cover for the above kind of scenario? Or does helping individuals go against our charitable aims?

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  #20  
Old 15-09-2016
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Why? Ignoring the large events and comercial organisations for a minute. What about the stranded motorist that is on a busy arterial road that just needs protection (flashing lights and reflectives) and a tow off the carriageway or a tyre changed? Do we not help them? Do we go "na we don't help individuals, sorry love/mate"

I would suggest a large amount of us do the above fairly regularly (I did three in a day the other week!) You now tell us it's a no no. Could we not seek cover for the above kind of scenario? Or does helping individuals go against our charitable aims?

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Operating as Steve, I am free to assist anyone I wish, in any manner I wish, operating as HT13 I assist as a member of 4x4R, subject to their policies, codes of practice and such. A dynamic incident such as proposed I am certainly Steve, not HT13. No request from a body with an MOU, control unaware.

There are two risk assessments under such circumstances, the obvious physical safety one, and the liability one. I will where possible provide personal and scene protection, I will not attempt repairs, despite being a competent spanner monkey. Removal to a place of safety is very much dependent of the moment, but not normally something I would consider unless at the direction of a constable, and with their lights protecting me too.

The number of people out there who have never been towed is remarkably high, even higher for slack lines rather than rigid bars. We tend to think of such events as quite routine, especially if we are the ones who go out on the unmade roads or pay our thirty quid at the quarry on a Sunday.

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Originally Posted by Greig Gailey View Post
Clearly none of us would drive past a person in genuine distress or where a broken down vehicle is in a dangerous position. However many members of the public have little or no experience of being towed on a road with a rope/strap and that could prove more of a risk than leaving the car where it is and simply ensuring the safety and welfare of the person whilst professional help is on its way. I also am pretty sure that our liability does not extend to undertaking road side repairs, especially if these acts of assistance are dynamic and without the prior knowledge and authorisation of your group control.
I'm not saying that I wouldn't and have not done similar, but any such activities I've done have been under the banner of a Good Samaritan and not as a member of 4x4 Response.

It's not that we wouldn't want to help people because clearly we do hence we are members of the organisation, but we are not insured or equipped as a recovery organisation, and having done recovery in the motor trade I know that the liability cover is significantly more than the basic generic policy most groups are running.

Unfortunately litigation plays a massive part in what we do and you have to think of what happens if the wheel you change comes off, or your rope / straps snaps, or the person under tow looses control and any of the above causing an accident or injury which could all have been avoided by simply ensuring the persons safety and welfare at the roadside whilst a recognised recovery agent and or the police attends.
As a serving officer I can tell you that even the traffic police will not take a vehicle under tow unless its in a dangerous position, and in such circumstances they are likely to also take control of the tow vehicle as well.
I concur as regards liability. Whilst operating under the auspices of a good samaritan provides some protection legally, it is not a get out of bankruptcy free card. The test is pretty much "reasonable of a similar person in similar circumstances". This means that in the case of first aid, a regular person, someone with a basic first aid certificate, and an off-duty paramedic are all held to different standards if assisting a casualty.

It would not be unreasonable to expect a court to expect higher standards of a member of an organised group, in a stickered vehicle with beacons, to a higher standard than Mr Jones in his Mondeo. As an example, I have done more than a handful of good samaritan, place of safety recoveries for the police, and not once have they wanted to take charge of my vehicle (I have even been flagged down by an officer who has recognised my vehicle from previous assistance). I doubt any actually would, the liability issues for them are just as great, being in charge of an unfamiliar vehicle under such circumstances can create a world of hurt, whereas directing a person who presents as competent for the task is far less risky. Most officers, including traffic, do not have the authourisation or training to drive large 4x4s, thus they are caught in a liability trap too. The last RTC I assisted at, the police were initially unwilling to even be in the towed vehicle, it was only when the driver insisted he wanted to attempt to drive off the scene because he was terrified of being towed, they took charge before he pumped a couple of gallons of ATF over the carriageway and became further stranded.
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This is a topic that will continue to go round and round
It is nice to see this forum actually active
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