Building collapse in Belfast mobilizes St John volunteers

When a building collapsed in Belfast early Monday morning, the city's emergency crews were on hand, ensuring the public safety and treating building crew who were working on site.

St John Ambulance in West Belfast were called to lend a hand.

'(The NHS ambulance services) called asking for two crews to help them with their work load,' said Adrian Pettigrew, the Superintendent for St John Ambulance in West Belfast. 'We had two crews mobilized in less than an hour and a third about fifteen minutes later.'

St John fleets will be responding to non-emergency calls transferring patients for appointments and filling in where necessary. The St John Ambulance and crew have made themselves available open endedly, until the NHS ambulances have been able to catch up on their workload.

At the site of the collapse it was estimated that 60 workmen were in the building at the time of the accident. Six men have been taken to hospital with serious injuries although they are reported as being in stable conditions, with mostly broken bones. The building has been roped off and emergency crews have continued to search the wreckage.

For the full story of the collapse or up to the minute information, please visit the BBC or Belfast Telegraph sites.

St John Ambulance in Belfast

'This is the second time in the past week we've been contacted by the NHS to help take the pressure off emergency crews,' Pettigrew said. 'The first time it was just from sheer workload pressure. This time they have their resources tied up.'

'Since Christmas we've transferred about 400 patients for the hospitals,' said Pettigrew. 'In the past four to five months the need for our services have grown exponentially. To the point where we're basically assisting the emergency services six out of seven nights a week.'

For more information on the role of St John Ambulance in Belfast email or call 028 9079 9393.