St John Ambulance volunteers saddle up for Cheltenham
St John Ambulance volunteers in
Gloucestershire are set to race into action this week as the
county hosts one of the premier equestrian
festivals of the year.
Around 35 of the charity’s
volunteers have been on duty throughout the
Cheltenham Festival from Tuesday March to
Friday March. They include first aiders patrolling
the course on foot and bicycle, radio controllers to direct
volunteers to emergencies and doctors and nurses manning a medical
55,000 visitors each day
One ambulance and 10 first aiders were on
site on Monday as the finishing touches were put to the race
meeting. The festival attracts around 55,000 people a day, with
65,000 expected on the final day. There are also
6,000 workers on site including jockeys and their racing teams.
For the four days of the festival, one
ambulance crew have started the day early so they can be on hand at
the gallops in case any riders are injured as horses are exercised
from 7.30am to 9am.
From 9am to 8pm there will be four
ambulances and crews, three foot patrol teams, two cycle
response teams, two radio controllers, two doctors, two nurses, six
first aiders, management and clerical staff on duty.
The numbers of people receiving treatment
during each festival has ranged from 180 to more than 250 and first
aiders and the medical centre treat anything from injured jockeys
to visitors who are taken ill.
Andy Cumming, Operations Manager for St
John Ambulance Gloucestershire, said: 'The Cheltenham Festival is
also a high point in our calendar and is an event our
volunteers all enjoy.
'The atmosphere is great and we are
confident that we have a wide range of first aid facilities on the
racecourse to ensure we can respond speedily to any emergency.
'During the five days we are on
duty we treat anything and everything from chest pains to
head injuries, headaches, cuts, bruises and burns to more serious
cases like cardiac arrests. There is never a dull moment but that
is what makes it interesting.'