Ambulance crew threatened with imitation firearm

A male has been arrested and charged after threatening an ambulance crew with, what turned out to be, an imitation firearm on Thursday 16 November.

The crew was responding to reports of a sudden death in the Montgomery Road area of East Belfast at 8 pm. However when the crew arrived at the scene they discovered that the call was, in fact, a bogus one. They were met by a male person and after a short time found a female in another room. The male then left the premises and returned a short time later, brandishing the imitation firearm in a threatening manner towards the crew.

One crew member was able to disarm the male and called for assistance from PSNI who arrived promptly and arrested the individual. The member of staff who disarmed the assailant suffered a back injury in so doing.

This is the latest in a series of incidents involving attacks, or threats of attack, on our crews and this particular one was a lot more sinister in nature with the call being bogus and an imitation firearm being produced.

Given the circumstances involved in this incident, NIAS would reiterate its call that anyone involved in any type of assault on our crews should face the full rigours of the law, especially if they have been called to a scene under false pretences. Our staff are there to provide help to the helpless and to remove fear from the fearful and yet all too often they are being faced with situations which are becoming more serious in nature.

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Systems Testing in Ambulance Control Room 18 October 2017

EMD in Control Room

In order to facilitate essential maintenance and testing within Emergency Ambulance Control, the Northern Ireland Ambulance has planned a major business continuity test on Wednesday 18 October.

The purpose of the test is to examine the electrical cabling system to identify potential faults.

NIAS receives over 200,000 emergency calls per year and when added to the other 600,000 calls in and out of the control room from Healthcare Professionals, staff and others, the reliance on a fully functional system becomes obvious. Should the system fail without warning the risks are obvious.

In planning the test and implementing business continuity plans, NIAS has ensured a greater measure of control in closing down the system.  The contingency plans include moving operations to a secondary site for the duration of the test.

The testing will last approximately 12 hours and the system will then be powered up. During the period of testing, callers to our 999 service will be dealt with in the same efficient manner as would normally be the case. Callers will be taken through the same processes as before and, as always, NIAS will endeavour to provide the most appropriate response to all calls.

Our triage system aims to provide the quickest response to the sickest patient and will strive to continue to so do. But as always we would ask for the help of all within the community by ensuring that we are called only in real emergencies.

Systems within Headquarters will also be affected including the telephone system. However, for general queries that would normally go through the switchboard at reception a temporary number has been established – 07917 093012.

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Accredited Centre of Excellence (ACE)

On Tuesday 05 September 2017, Jerry Overton, President of the International Academies of Emergency Dispatch (IAED) came from Salt Lake City to visit our Emergency Ambulance Control (EAC), and to present us with an award for achieving status as an Accredited Centre of Excellence (ACE).
NIAS submitted an application to become an ACE in February 2015, and after years of hard work by all colleagues in EAC, we finally met all of the required performance standards in February 2017.

In order to reach this status, each Emergency Medical Dispatcher (EMD) has 3% of their calls audited each month for accuracy, customer service and compliance. They are expected to handle the caller, get information quickly and accurately, calm the situation down and deliver scripted advice depending on the nature of the call.

We are extremely proud of all of our Control Staff, and of the continuing hard work they have put into achieving ACE status. Congratulations on this incredible achievement.

 

 

 

 

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Air Ambulance NI Presented to the Public

Today, Northern Ireland’s Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) was presented to the public.

This marks the culmination of a 12 year campaign backed by the public and driven by key individuals throughout that period.

This new Doctor / Paramedic led service will be of most benefit to those whose lives are at serious risk following significant injury or trauma.

The HEMS service brings with it the advantages of rapid transportation to scene, rapid advanced medical intervention at scene and rapid transport to the most appropriate hospital.

The Air Ambulance has already attended a number of incidents during preparatory and training periods over the last few weeks.

The first call the service was dispatched to was to help a young boy who was injured in a farm incident in Castlewellan on Saturday 22 July. Conor was quickly airlifted to the Royal Victoria Hospital for treatment.

Conor and his family were able to join us today and you can see in the picture on the right the wonderful moment when they were introduced to the HEMS crew that helped Conor on the day.

 

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George Stott: Recipient of Queen’s Ambulance Medal

You may have seen from our Twitter feed at the weekend that our Northern Area Training Manager, George Stott, was honoured in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List with the Queen’s Ambulance Medal.

George joined the ambulance service in 1981 and has played a lead role in the delivery of training from NVQ programmes through to the introduction, and enhancement, of Paramedic training. He established Division based training which for the first time took training away from the Regional Ambulance Training Centre and facilitated its delivery in the workplace.

George worked closely with local cardiac units to set up a local pilot to introduce pre-hospital defibrillation for cardiac patients in the Northern Division.
George was also instrumental in introducing the use of salbutamol for use by all frontline staff. He also led an innovative pilot to introduce pre-hospital thrombolysis treatment to patients, leading the way among U.K. Ambulance Services.

Another milestone in his career was becoming among the first in the Service to gain a Driving Instructors qualification thereby enhancing the experience for new recruits on their driving courses.

George has been pivotal in embedding the Clinical Support Officer role within in the Service and he continues to lead a team of CSOs in the Northern Area who work with frontline crews to improve standards and enrich the experience of patients who pass through our hands.

George is a very popular member of the Training team and is respected across the Service. We are sure that all staff will join us in congratulating George on being honoured in this way.

We caught up with him today in HQ to talk about his time here and how he felt when he heard about the award.

 

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Falls News

Falls continues to be one of the main reasons people call 999 in NI.

Until now we were only able to refer patients in some areas across NI. From 01 June 2017, NIAS clinicians can refer patients over 65 who are assessed as safe to leave at home to their local falls team no matter where they live.

The Falls team will assess the patient over the phone and can refer you on to a range of services depending on your needs: OT, Physio, Older People’s Doctor, Pharmacy etc.

This is good news!

 

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Register your Defibrillator

Register your AEDNIAS has been working with ‘parkrun’ in Northern Ireland to encourage registration of public access defibrillators, and we would like to urge anyone responsible for one, that hasn’t yet done so, to register it with us by filling out our online form at http://www.nias.hscni.net/our-services/aed

By registering your AED with the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service, it means that our Emergency Control Operators can direct a caller to the nearest defibrillator, potentially saving a life.

The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service attempts resuscitation on over 2000 people suffering a pre-hospital cardiac arrest each year.

For every minute that passes whilst in cardiac arrest, chances of survival decrease by 10%.

Increasing the availability of Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs) throughout Northern Ireland would, without a doubt, improve our cardiac arrest survival rates.

When someone suffers a cardiac arrest, their heart stops and blood is no longer being pumped around their body. The longer the patient waits for emergency life-support, the harder it becomes to restart their heart.

A defibrillator is a device used to give an electric shock to help restart a heart when it is in cardiac arrest. If more public access defibrillators were available, more people could receive a lifesaving shock as quickly as possible, before the arrival of an Ambulance, giving them the greatest chance of survival.

AEDs are safe and easy to use by anyone with little or no training. The device tells you, and displays what you need to do, with many devices also showing pictures.

The best possible chance for someone’s survival is for them to receive immediate effective cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and early defibrillation.

This is where you and your community, organisation or business could make a difference.

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Appropriate Use of Our Service

Every day the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service deals with in excess of 500 emergency 999 calls, and this only increases over the Bank Holiday Weekends.

It is vital that you always use our service appropriately. For every inappropriate call we receive, we are unable to help someone who is in a life-threatening condition.

Remember, 999: Use It, Don’t Abuse It

 

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Ambulance Crew Assaulted While Attending Patient

An ambulance crew was assaulted in Trillick last night by a female patient who had called for their assistance moments earlier.

Responding to a 999 call, the ambulance crew sought to do nothing more than help an individual in need. During assessment and initial treatment the patient struck out at one of the female crew striking her on the face and also kicking her.  The second member of the crew, who was also female, attempted to intervene to prevent the patient from damaging equipment and, as a result, sustained an arm injury.

The crew removed themselves from the scene and called for police assistance who arrived and dealt with the individual involved.

Both crew members were stood down as they were unable to continue their shift meaning that the significantly rural area in and around Enniskillen was left with reduced cover between 11pm and 8am this morning with only one crew remaining to cope with calls in the area.

Assaults on our crews continue on an almost daily basis and the Trust hopes that by continuing to highlight those more serious in nature that everyone with influence in local communities and leadership positions wider afield will do all they can to support our staff, particularly by ensuring that those who carry out such attacks are brought before the courts to face the real prospect of custodial sentencing.

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Ambulance Frontline and Control Staff Abused Over the Weekend

Over the weekend, Northern Ireland Ambulance Service crews and control staff dealt with the usual high volume of calls from people needing our assistance in life threatening situations. a small number of these made headlines including a fatal road incident in Crossgar, an assault on a young father of two which resulted in his death and a number of sudden deaths of young men in the Belfast area.

Each of these calls is dealt with in the most professional manner by our staff, from the call taker to the crews who arrive at the scene.

Despite this frontline crews and staff in control continue to receive abuse from a small minority who have no regard for their own safety or that of our staff.

On Saturday morning a female call taker was subject to extreme vulgar abuse while taking a call from a member of the public. Although there is no acceptable level of tolerance of this behaviour, it was so bad on this occasion that details have been passed to PSNI who expect to follow it up.

On Sunday evening a crew from Larne was tasked to Whitehead for a male patient who had himself been the victim of an assault. While transporting the patient to hospital the crew reported that the patient was becoming violent in the back of the ambulance and requested police assistance as a matter of urgency. The crew exited the vehicle while awaiting the arrival of PSNI during which time a degree of damage was caused.

NIAS understands that this person was charged by PSNI.

It is regrettable that, once again, we find ourselves having to report this incidents in the media to highlight the fact that, despite ongoing educational campaigns, these incidents continue to happen almost daily.

The Trust welcomes the fact that courts have begun to issue custodial sentences for such behaviour and we hope that the real threat of prison can act as a deterrent to people who engage in such activity.

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