Large-scale emergency relief when it really counts
Emergencies requiring first aid assistance sometimes involve
entire communities, and we have developed systems to provide
large-scale support. We can work alongside the statutory services
when they are overstretched, whether during extreme weather
conditions (so-called ‘winter pressures’), following major
accidents or local or national emergencies. We take part in
multi-agency emergency planning exercises as well as our own.
As the largest pan-England ambulance operation, we are able to
deploy clinical teams and vehicles at short notice where they are
needed. But – since first aid can be needed anywhere and at any
time – we are also determined to increase individual communities’
resilience both through formal planning and through simply
increasing the number of people who understand how to, and feel
empowered to provide first aid when the need arises.
That’s why it’s so important to spread first aid skills wherever
possible, and why we speak of a generation of life savers. But it’s
also important that people who have life saving skills feel that
they can use them. In 2015, the Social Action, Responsibility and
Heroism Bill became law. Its purpose was to encourage people to
step forward in cases of emergency, by assuring first aiders that
courts would take into account that they were acting selflessly.
While the Bill was going through Parliament, we successfully
campaigned for its wording to reflect good first aid practice. We
welcome the new Act and trust that it will have an effect on making
first aid a cultural norm.