St John Ambulance first aiders work through the night helping Bath bomb evacuees

St John Ambulance volunteers worked throughout the night providing support to nearly 3,000 people evacuated from their homes after the discovery of a World War Two bomb in Lansdown Road, Bath.

Road closures in Bath - credit: PAAs the nation’s leading first aid charity, we work closely with the emergency services in times of crisis. We mobilised 16 Central District volunteers and an ambulance yesterday evening and provided 500 blankets and 10 cases of water for evacuees. Another 22 volunteers were on standby in case of serious medical problems.

Triage centres – to prioritise those needing the most urgent attention – were set up at Bath racecourse and The Pavilion by district manager Karen Brooks who, as ‘Silver Commander’ for the incident, has been leading the frontline first aid operation.

Treatment centres up and running within 90 minutes

Des Young, Regional Ambulance, Events and Logistics Manager for St John Ambulance in the South West, said: ‘Our team did sterling work throughout the night, mainly providing comfort but also ready to deal with any medical emergency which may have arisen in such a stressful situation. In times of crisis like this, reassurance and support are as important as treating medical conditions.

‘I received the call from police control at 8.30pm and immediately implemented our major incident plan which we have in place for just such an emergency. Our first aiders, who are trained to cope with everything from a cut finger through to a cardiac arrest, were on the scene and had our treatment centres up and running within 90 minutes.'

'We'll be there as long as we're needed'

As our on-call ‘Gold Commander’, Mr Young worked through most of the night co-ordinating the charity’s emergency response using a secure radio to liaise with Avon and Somerset Police and the South West Ambulance Service Foundation Trust control room in Bristol.

A new team of six volunteers took over at 8am today and will continue to provide care and medical treatment if needed. It’s expected that more first aiders will be needed to staff the treatment centres tonight at both locations.

‘All our St John Ambulance volunteers are committed to the belief that no one should suffer due to a lack of care and first aid,’ said Mr Young. ‘It’s a belief that underpins everything we do so all those who’ve been affected by this incident can rest assured that we’ll be there as long as we’re needed.’