If we go to plan the Swanage First Responder Scheme will start at 9.30 today.
At this stage the responder scheme is separate to the Swanage Coastguard Team as discussions between HM Coastguard and South Western Ambulance continue to enable the Coastguard team to become Co responders.
So to whats the difference between First and Co responders ?
First Responders - Wear the uniform of South Western Ambulance and are tasked by Ambulance Control direct.
Co Responders - In our case we would wear our Coastguard uniform and respond in the Coastguard vehicle and be tasked by Ambulance if available.
(Hope that's clear) Whilst it may be odd that we have to wear a different uniform, our Coastguard duties remain the priority, we have only taken this step to enable the community of Swanage to benefit from the equipment and training we have been given, HM Coastguard is still committed for the Swanage Team to become co responders as soon as the agreement is sorted.
It has taken two years to get to this point, the members of the team have worked hard to qualify twice!
So how does it work........?
As First Responders we will decide when we have time available to sign on with Ambulance Control, for example Friday and Saturday nights or when there is a large event going on in Swanage which creates extra visitors in the town. We sign in and then like being on call for the Coastguard wait for the text message to be sent from Ambulance Control. Having be tasked we then proceed to the incident and provide immediate first aid to the person until the Ambulance arrives.
Our Ambulance crews have a 50 mile round trip sometimes to either Poole or Dorchester Hospitals so often there is no Ambulance in the town, this is why we felt this scheme was important to the town and should start as soon as possible.
I'm sure you understand that Ambulance type incidents are very different to Coastguard incidents as we will be attending private addresses, so we will not be listing our incidents or creating an incident map. We will of course keep you posted on how the scheme goes.