Category Archives: St John

Halfords Bike Race, May Ball

Last Friday saw Aberystwyth get taken over by the Halfords bike race that led the cyclists around the seafront and then inland to Academy and back down to the pier. Me and Stuart were placed on the brutal hairpin of “South Beach” that saw many racers take the corner too quickly, loose traction and slide into the barrier.

The race was broadcast on ITV4 today, and I managed to find myself (in the high visibility jacket) a few times in the show:

Halfords Bike Race

Also had the May Ball duty on the 11th of May where we were on duty from from around 7pm-ish until 4am in the morning. A relatively quiet duty, mainly just applying plasters for rubbing shoes, but fun nonetheless as it was a bit different.

Me wearing hats

I found more hats...

Matt

Aber LINKS Website – The old and the new

As I live in fear of loosing data, I have extensive backups of important/valuable data such as the Aber LINKS site. I was having a look through the old backups, and found it interesting to see how the colour schemes and other parts of the site had changed, like the changing of the top banner from the English logos to the Welsh ones. This is the site through the ages, the top 2 images are from back when the site used just HTML without PHP includes and other features. The last image is the site as it looks now.

Site old and new

Site old and new

Matt

Rugby 7s First Aiding – St John LINKS

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

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

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.

Control Board

Control Board

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

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.

Matt

Air Ambulance Trip

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.

Me in the Air Ambulance

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.

Air Ambulance

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!

Navigation Board

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.

The sick-bowls given to Miranda (suffering from travel sickness) appropriated as a hat

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.

Mercedes Ambulance

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).

Ambulances

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!

Matt

LINKS Conference

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

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

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

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

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.

Matt