Move to London
Finding a house in London was interesting, as the houses move so quickly. Houses can last a matter of hours before they are viewed and secured. After viewing many houses on the first day of a few days in London, we had secured a flat in Acton. A few days later, after I had emailed our estate agents “Austin D’arcy” to again request a contract, and they replied saying that they had given the flat that we had secured to another estate agent. Upon hearing this news, I quickly phoned up all of the other estate agents that I’d seen on that Wednesday, and managed to find just one other property, our second choice, was still available. I then did everything I could to secure this property, and our offer was accepted, this time with Aston Rowe estate agents.
Now in London
We have now moved into our new house in Acton, a short central line tube ride from work. Me and my new flatmates have been taking advantage of our few days off before work to explore London.
We have explored Westminster, had lunch in Camden Town, and rode around Hyde Park on the Barclays hire bicycles.
At the start of this year, the head of our Staff – Student Consultative Committee asked for volunteers from our course to be course representatives. Course reps meet on a regular basis with staff to help improve things for students, and give feedback on academic issues such as lectures, practicals, assignments and whether they are working well or not.
Course Rep Hoody
I have enjoyed being a Course Rep this year, and will definitely aim to carry on when I return in my final year, so I can continue to help to give a positive impact on the department by improving academic issues with feedback given from the eyes of a student taking the course.
This weekend saw rugby players come from all over the country to take part in the Rugby 7s matches in Aberystwyth. With many teams from Aberystwyth or the surrounding area to people I spoke to coming from Cardiff and London too, this was a big event. With 6 pitches in constant use, the games were fast-paced and brutal, and our St John LINKS society had been drafted in to help out with the many tons of injuries that occurred.
Town Ambulance and First Aid Tent
We had a large first aid tent in the centre of the playing fields, with all the pitches around us. Town’s ambulance was sat next to us, and Carmarthen’s ambulance was also on-site to help transfer people to hospital and was crewed by 2 very nice EMTs who were invaluable.
Aber Town Ambulance - My Concept Photography
On the first day, I had great fun treating on the pitches for the majority of the time, and a more intense time in the first aid tent. In total I treated about 14 casualties, and assisted in a few more which has helped my treating confidence massively. Also watching some of the really experienced members treat injuries helped me to learn some new tips and tricks to diagnose problems and rule out more serious injuries.
On the second day, I was based in control manning the radios, communicating with all of the first aid teams on the pitches and the Carmarthen ambulance. This was good fun too as I was able to help control the first aid cover in a larger way, and also was able to help out the first aid teams by delivering them: foldable seats so they could rest, medical supplies before they ran out, and water because of the intense sunshine we received in the afternoon. As well as merrily delivering supplies, I treated and assisted 5-6 casualties including a spinal and a head injury, and ordered the delivery of other supplies to pitches.
Renault Ambulance Lightbar
All in all, a very interesting and informative weekend, with over 90 casualties being treated on the first day, and well over 100 on the second day. Also managed to take a few pictures of the Renault Master Ambulances.
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!
This weekend, the St John LINKS conference was held here in Aberystwyth, which involved all of the LINKS units in Wales (us, Cardiff and Swansea) meeting up for some talks on things such as Fundraising, Volunteering and operations. We also did some training, looking at how neck braces and box splints work, as well as receiving training to qualify us to be an AED (Automated External Defibrillator) Operator.
AED and CPR on Annie Doll
Another valuable part of the weekend involved learning about what can happen in a major incident – where one emergency service may not be able to cope without incurring side effects to its service, and more people are called in to help.
Major Incident Simulation
In this session, we learnt about how the command structure works between the Police, Ambulance and Fire service, as well as getting to look at some of the equipment they use including: A fast blow-up casualty tent [Red tent in right of picture above], various stretchers and some very noise cancelling headphones.
Looking at the equipment
Inbetween receiving the invaluable training for AEDs and major trauma, we were able to get to know the LINKS members that had travelled from Cardiff and Swansea, and learnt that both units were relatively new, and will hopefully continue to grow and carry on their current success. We enjoyed some fantastic lunches in TaMed Da, and went out for a Thai meal with them on Saturday night.
Lunch with Aber, Swansea and Cardiff LINKS
Overall, a very interesting weekend, I now have to just take and pass the AED exam to receive that qualification, and look at the London St John District division, a group recommended to me by one of our trainers – as I hope to continue my St John work whilst on my year in industry in London.