Volunteers keep ambulance stations across Northamptonshire stocked up with PPE during pandemic

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The community first responders were tasked with replenishing 140 ambulances every two days

A group of local volunteers have kept themselves busy during the pandemic by making sure all of the county’s ambulance stations are stocked up with PPE.

East Midlands Ambulance Service’s community first responders (CFR) usually respond to emergencies in their local community.

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However due to Covid-19 and to protect the volunteers, restrictions were put in place as to which patients they could respond to.

EMAS volunteers have worked hard throughout the pandemic.EMAS volunteers have worked hard throughout the pandemic.
EMAS volunteers have worked hard throughout the pandemic.

Instead the six community first responder groups in the county split into north and south groups, gained support from Northants Emergency Service Volunteers and the EMAS Fleet team and began delivering vital equipment on a regular basis to ten ambulance stations.

Shane Rouse, who co-ordinated the delivery of PPE to stations across north Northamptonshire, said: “A lot of the CFRs had found themselves furloughed from their full-time jobs and so they have chosen to do something with their free time to help the NHS in the battle against this pandemic.

“The CFRs are great for replenishing PPE for crews as they know the back of the ambulance like the back of their hands.

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“While the numbers of patients we are able to respond to has reduced, our aim with the PPE2Vehicle scheme is to keep crews out on the road so that they can keep responding to patients when they need them in a medical emergency.”

Mark Taylor, who co-ordinated the delivery of PPE to stations across south Northamptonshire, added: “We were targeted with replenishing roughly 140 vehicles across Northants every two days.

“In June we were asked to extend this to also cover Leicestershire ambulance stations visiting the same set of vehicles and replenishing them as well, this was for weekends only.

“It was a stretch, as this doubled the number of stations which needed PPE stocks replenishing, but mainly down to Shane’s determination, we managed to incorporate Leicestershire into our rota and provide cover there as well.

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“We have had to do regular restock runs to Alfreton in Derbyshire, roughly once a week, to keep up with demand.

“I’m incredibly proud to have worked closely with such a dedicated team of volunteers that have gone above and beyond what was originally asked of them.”

The PPE2Vehicle scheme is set to come to an end soon as the easing of restrictions sees volunteers returning to full-time jobs, but EMAS has thanked and recognises the community first responders’ dedication.

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