Today, me and some of our first aid division did a trip up to Caernarfon to see the Air Ambulance, and the local ambulance station. Starting off from Aber at 7.40 (>.<) we trekked up to Caernarfon airport – a little air strip by the sea, very nice! As we got there, the Air Ambulance was just landing – and one of the gentlemen that flew in it very kindly showed us around the helicopter.
We saw that the space inside is actually very cramped, barely enough room to tend to a patient, despite having 2 sliding doors (one of which the stretcher slid out of and was held so a patient could be transferred to a bed outside) and a set of opening doors at the back too.
We also saw how the crew can easily work out the time it will roughly take them to get to an incident, using a very inventive magnet on a piece of string. You put the magnet/marker on the place to go, and the string draws a direct line from the air base – indicating the heading on a square compass. Above the map, the string continued passing through painting hanging loops, and along the straight top of the board were little markers for the number of miles the incident was away – and the marker was just a bit of red tape on the string. When the magnetic marker is pulled away from the base, the string travels along with it, and the red marker moves along the “miles” indicators. A very clever, but simple way of working out how far away things are, and on what heading!
We then travelled to Caernarfon’s ambulance station – where Dewi (our trip’s organiser)’s Dad worked. We had a look round a couple of Mercedes Sprinter ambulances, as well as a new Land Rover Discovery.
It was extremely interesting learning what they carried in their NHS ambulances, and how some of it worked. Whilst having a chat with one of the paramedics, I also learned the Merc ambulances contained 2.6 or 3 litre engines, could top 110mph, and weigh up to 5 ton.
The ambulance was called out a couple of times whilst we were visiting, and I got a video of it leaving:
After – we visited Caernarfon’s town centre – and was not overly impressed by the absence of the sense of safety given by the violent behaviour from children and adults alike. We had a good look around the castle, and I had a great play with Liz’s Olympus metal SLR camera – having great fun with the wide-angle/fisheye lens, and managed to get some good shots (in my opinion, anyway).
A fantastic day out, and I really hope we can have another soon! Thank you so much to Dewi for organising the trip and driving the minibus, and thank you to Liz for some of the photos in this post, and for letting me borrow her SLR!