First-aid task force saddling up for Nottingham’s Christmas rush

By Nottingham Post  |  Posted: November 27, 2013, By Bryan Henesey

PEDAL-POWERED first-aiders are primed to help any injured festive shoppers or revellers in Nottingham city centre this Christmas.

A team of St John Ambulance volunteers will start patrolling the city on specially designed bikes from Friday, providing first aid to anyone who comes a cropper in the city centre in the run-up to, and over, the festive period.

Peter Ralph, regional cycle responder co-ordinator for St John Ambulance, said: "We are there to support shoppers and partygoers or anyone who requires first aid support in the busy city centre streets."

It is the sixth year the cyclists have provided support in Nottingham city centre.

Twelve cyclists will operate during December, including Christmas Eve and Boxing Day, and into the new year.

The first-aiders will be on hand on Fridays between 6pm and 10pm, and on Saturdays from 10am until 10pm.

The volunteers are trained to treat a range of injuries including collapses, faints, bleeding and minor injuries.

The bikes also carry defibrillators and oxygen for more serious incidents.

Mr Ralph said the first-aiders had made an enormous difference in a variety of cases in previous years.

He said: "Our teams have helped a man who collapsed while waiting for a bus, a cyclist who was involved in a collision with a car, various collapses and faints in the shops in the city, a person who had been assaulted and the usual support to revellers in the centre.

"The nearer it gets to Christmas the busier it is likely to get."

The cyclists will work alongside a minor injury treatment centre at Old Market Square at weekends.

The centre will be available from 9pm until 2am on Fridays and Saturdays over the coming weeks.

St John Ambulance first aiders are working with the East Midlands Ambulance Service in both of these ventures.

Mr Ralph said: "Our first-aiders are pleased to be the difference for shoppers in and around Nottingham city centre each Christmas, and at a variety of other events throughout the year.

"They're ready to respond in all weathers, at all occasions, so everyone can enjoy themselves at events safe in the knowledge that first aid assistance is at hand.

"Having the cycle responders available means that patients can get advanced treatment quickly that could be the difference between a life lost and a life saved."

A spokesman for East Midlands Ambulance Service said: "We welcome the support that St John Ambulance volunteers are providing.

"The festive period is always a very busy time of the year for our frontline staff and this initiative will relieve some of the pressure. To help us, we'd urge members of the public to only call 999 in a genuine emergency."

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