Miller Knight supporting St John Ambulance

St John Ambulance was chosen as our Charity of the Year. We thought we would catch up with our Operations Director, Jeremy Warman who volunteers for St John Ambulance to explain a bit more about this fantastic Charity

How long have you volunteered for St John Ambulance?

7 years.

What does St John Ambulance do?

St John Ambulance are the nation’s leading first aid charity and want to teach everyone simple, life saving skills. As well as providing these life saving skills, they also support the NHS and local ambulance services in times of need and provide medical cover at events. The latter is where my involvement in the charity is focussed. I am particularly thrilled that after years and years of campaigning, St John Ambulance (in conjunction with the British Red Cross and the British Heart Foundation) have been able to finally get the teaching of First Aid added to the National Curriculum. This means that over time, we will finally have a nation where everyone knows life-saving first aid.

What do you do?

I am an Advanced First Aider. This provides me with the skills to treat people requiring first aid at a large variety of events from running races, football matches to bonfire nights and concerts. I enjoy cycling and decided to combine this by joining the Cycle Response Unit. This involves using bicycles to be able to get to patients quickly and efficiently at events where vehicles or on foot is not feasible.

As well as personally treating people, I have also been privileged to be responsible for the management of events. As the Event Manager for St John Ambulance I am responsible for planning and delivering the complete medical cover for the event. This includes Derby County where we can have over 30,000 spectators to look after or Derby Half Marathon with over 3,000 runners.

What is involved?

Last Sunday was Derby 10 Mile, a 10 mile running race held in Derby. It’s probably a good example of what is involved. As you would expect, there is a huge amount of planning that goes into events and when it comes to event medical cover this is certainly the case. Even though St John Ambulance and myself have delivered this event for a number of years, there are always things that need to be reviewed and changed. This as particularly true of this year as the event had a new start / finish venue, Derby Arena. In addition due to the serious flooding in Derbyshire, the route itself was changed! This involved a considerable amount of work by the entire team in updating event plans, deciding on the new location of resources, checking coverage of the radios, etc.

As with most things, good planning is fundamental to delivering a successful event. I always like to check things ahead of time to make sure everything is in place (I don’t like surprises 😃). This meant spending part of Saturday checking the equipment and consumables for the event had all been sorted and that vehicles were good to go. In addition, as volunteers, it’s even more important to look after them so a quick stop at Costco to pick up some delicious pastries and cupcakes for them can’t be forgotten (I’m on a diet so no pastries for me).

Sunday morning, as is often the case volunteering with St John Ambulance, an early start for a Sunday – up at 06.00. After all the rain we’ve had, a quick look at the forecast. It says cloudy but no rain: let’s hope the forecast is right for once. I meet up with part of the team for 07.30 ready to start the setup of the finish line treatment centre. A quick drive from our base in Derby to the Arena to deliver all the equipment, setup the gazebo etc. Then back to base to brief the ambulance crews, cycle responders and intermediate first aid post volunteers. Then back to the Arena to deliver the briefing for the finish line teams. An important part of every briefing is always to thank the volunteers for being there. Without volunteers, nothing would happen. It’s now 09.30 and everybody is ready for the 10.00 start.

10.00, the first runners are off. Contrary to the forecast, it is raining. Once the event has started, my fantastic fellow volunteers take over all the hard work but it’s important to check that everyone is happy and make sure anything they need is sorted. Time flies by. Before we know it, its 13.00 and the last runner crosses the finish line. We can now start to take down the treatment centre and pack everything away. Another quick thank you to everyone and back to base. Mustn’t forget to wash and clean the vehicles and of course dry out the gazebo. It’s now 14.30. I’ve had the pleasure of working with more than 20 volunteers to deliver a first class service to the runners and spectators.

Anything else to add?

Yes! Whether its St John Ambulance or another charity (there are many amazing causes out there), I would really recommend volunteering to everyone. It’s a wonderful feeling in being able to give of your time to help others and the satisfaction it gives seeing the results of your labour is truly second to none.