But one of our team is providing a life-saving service of a very different kind as a volunteer with the Lincolnshire Emergency Medical Response (LEMR) team.
Our Marketing and Communications Manager Becki spoke to Forward Air Controller & Force Protection SME Nick Garner about his critical role with LEMR.
Becki: So, who are Lincolnshire Emergency Medical Response and what do they do?
Nick: LEMR is a charity made up of serving and ex-service military who provide a Rapid response to emergency calls across Lincolnshire, supporting the East Midlands Ambulance Service. There are around 47 volunteers covering the whole of the county, and we usually work in 2 man crews on fully equipped blue light medical rapid response vehicles based at RAF Cranwell. We are directly tasked by the East Midlands Ambulance control centre to respond to 999 calls as any other EMAS asset.
Becki: And what support do you provide to your Ambulance service colleagues?
Nick: Our drivers are blue light qualified so we can provide rapid response to incidents, and when we arrive our main role is to preserve life. We are all FPOS(I) trained – that’s First Person On Scene – so we triage the patients, and can provide oxygen, pain relief and administer some medication. Our vehicles also carry the same LifePak 15’s as the front line ambulance crews. This vital piece of equipment allows us to monitor vital signs including blood pressure, oxygen saturations and heart rate.
In the event of chest pains, while administering medication we can also, via the LifePak, carry out a 3 lead and 12 lead ECG, although we are not medically trained to interpret the findings, this does however speed up the diagnosis and hand over when the front line crew arrives. This saves vital time in the event of a cardiac incident. The LifePak 15 is also a defibrillator which we would use during a cardiac arrest. The benefit of using the same piece of equipment as our EMAS colleges is the time saved on scene. There is no need to swap equipment over upon the arrival of a Paramedic or doctor, so we can deliver life-saving treatment very quickly. We also have the important role of updating the Ambulance Control Centre on the progress of the incident, allowing us to request extra assets, HeliMed, Fire & Rescue or Police as required along with updating control on the patients condition and if further treatment, or admittance to hospital, is required.
Me in my LEMR kit
B: What kind of incidents are you called to?
N: We can be sent to respond to any 999 call. Common incidents include road traffic accidents, chest pains or breathing difficulties and falls. LEMR also provide medical cover for military events such as family days or charity events. We provide assistance to EMAS in the run up to Christmas and New Year to man the Lincoln City Centre Triage Post. With a lot of Christmas and New Year parties there is great strain placed on A&E and the NHS in general through drink related injuries. During these nights (1900-0500hrs) we, alongside EMAS paramedics, triage and treat people in order to keep non urgent cases away from A&E.
B: It’s a very different role to your day job! How did you get in to being a medical volunteer?
N: I started as a volunteer responder in 2003 when I was a Recruit Instructor with the RAF Regiment at RAF Honington. Part of my role was to teach first aid to personnel and I wanted to know more about the medical responses I was teaching students.
B: And what sort of training do you have to undertake to make sure your skills stay current?
N: Initially it is a 4 day intense course, with all of the skills you would learn on a First Person on Scene (FPOS) course, and as ‘RAF’ responders we have an extra days training to up our skill set to allow us to carry out manual blood pressure readings, check blood sugar levels along with other extra skills which gives us the FPOS(I) certification. Our major skills qualifications are refreshed yearly; in the last 12 months we have upskilled to LifePak 15, IGels (Airway Management), using tourniquets to control major blood loss, mental health training and maternity training.
We do monthly training to ensure our knowledge and skillsets are maintained along with bi-annual assessments. We also take part in annual ambulance service refreshers alongside paramedics and ambulance crews by accompanying crews on the road for “3rd manning shifts”.
Me as a response student driver at Honington in 2015
B: How do you manage to fit all of this around your day-job? Hours at the ABTC are pretty long!
N: I usually do around 3 or 4 shifts a month for LEMR, and they can be a mixture of daytime and night-time shifts. Usually I cover the hours of 1800 – 0000 Sunday to Thursday, or 1800 – 0200 Friday and Saturdays, so I will finish work at the ABTC and then go straight to RAF Cranwell to crew up and start my shift with LEMR. Although it is long working hours, and I sometimes have to go straight from work to my volunteer shift, the hours don’t impact on one another. With 47 people volunteering we can make sure that the crews are covered all hours of the day so we work around each other to fit in with our working hours. We are all military or ex-service so it works well!
Keeping warm during a night shift in Honington!