All 2013 news

Sunday 12 May 2013

CSAR Ambulance Experience

On top of our Search Technician qualification, the medical training we do is pretty extensive and enables qualified team members to manage a trauma situation and take a casualty to a place of safety as quickly as possible. In terms of the call outs we attend, this could be anything from a mountain bike crash in an inaccessible location, a despondent person intending to harm themselves, or a high risk elderly person who may be injured or have underlying medical conditions.

Consequently, it’s extremely useful to expand our knowledge and experience by finding out more about the agencies we cross paths with – such as Paramedics who we might be working alongside, or handing casualties over to. Members of CSAR come from all kinds of different backgrounds and occupatinons, and some have no previous medical experience. But as you might expect, a number of the team are medical professionals and three of those are Paramedics.

We’re very lucky that thanks to the generosity of our ‘team’ Paramedics and courtesy of North West Ambulance Service, we occasionally get the opportunity to go out ‘third manning’ with them for a day as an observer. Open to team members who have also completed the Incident Safety Assessment Course (ISAC), in the last few weeks we’ve seen Angela, Rachel and Hilary join Paramedic Rob Heaton in Greater Manchester to find out more about life on the road…

All three thoroughly enjoyed such a privileged insight to the role of a Paramedic (and Emergency Medical Technician) and experienced a wide range of calls from transporting psychiatric patients, to strokes, chest pains and a variety of other conditions. They found it fascinating to see behind the scenes too – finding out how a call is passed over from the control centre and prioritized for the crew, where linen and blankets are picked up through the day and the amount of checking and paperwork required to keep the ambulance running on a daily and per patient basis.

There was a human side to it all too – talking to people who are frightened and in pain, reassuring relatives, deciding on the best course of action, moving patients with sensitivity and to retain their dignity, sometimes a ‘sixth sense’ about a particular condition, or even just noting the sad fact that someone elderly had no one to go to hospital with them.

They also got a full appreciation of the mental, emotional and physical strain of fulfilling a 12-hour shift when you never know what’s coming next, and saw a new side to Rob’s driving ability as they wove through traffic at high speed.

All of this experience really helps our team members to understand the role of a Paramedic and means they will be able to work more effectively as an essential part of the chain of patient care before the casualty gets to a hospital. Knowing what will happen when the Paramedics arrive, and what information they need to know, can help us to make early decisions on treatment and work out how to move a casualty in the best possible way.

CSAR would like to say a big thank you to Rob (and Neil his work partner) for taking out Angela, Rachel and Hilary (possibly three of our most talkative team members!) and for providing such an amazing and unique opportunity. The experience was everything they hoped for and more and we strongly suspect there will be a rush for third man places next time too!