I finish a job, and start to roll back to Station for a nice relaxing cup of tea.  As I pass one of the roads on my route I see a lot of firefighters, loads of police and a Duty officer’s car. 

“Hmmm”, I think, “Something interesting there”.

Then I notice a strong smell of gas.

“A-ha, that’s what they are there for, someone has left the cooker on”.

So I continue on my way, with a bad taste in my mouth and roll up to the Station…

…Only to find a load of Officers, strange ambulance crews (well, I say strange, but what I mean is crews from out of our sector), and some St John’s people.

“Something happening”, I ask.

“Yes”, says one of my friends, “We are roaming London ready to deal with anything out of the usual”.

“In fact”, she continues, “We are here because there might be a Chemical incident in Lucas Avenue”.

“Oh Bugger”, I think.

So I let them know that I drove past it, and they tell me to sit in my car so that I don’t contaminate anyone.  Apparently one of the tests for nasty chemical stuff came back positive.

I’m not too worried, if it was anything that nasty I’d already be dead.

They retest their samples, and it’s actually negative, the team are stood down, and I’m allowed out of the car, and back to work.


Still it’s nice to know that our people are still on the ball.

6 thoughts on “Contaminated”

  1. Hi Reynolds, glad to hear you're not contaminated.Was just wondering, what's your general attitude to the VAS volunteers? As a St. John Ambulance bod myself, I don't understand the vitriol directed towards volunteers by some members of the statutory ambulance services online. Yes, the hats are awful (a personal bugbear), and certain volunteers are uttery unbearable, even to other volunteers but why do some 'professionals' hate us so much? Was wondering if you could shed some light on this?

    Great blog, I'll keep reading even if you take a dim view of 'the amateurs'

  2. I think we'd all rather they tested and got a negative result than didn't test and ended up with Consequences…

  3. It's down to the last ambulance dispute. Very many SJA and red cross came out from their normal jobs and did the “we will go out and treat folk” bit, but what is often overlooked by them is the other side, would you like some bod to walk in off the street and tell your boss, “Hi i want to do job X for free this week” and not have the same qualifications, experiance of incidents in the depth that service personel do? Personaly i see both sides and many are misdirecting anger, as it was the management localy and nationaly that had that bright idea to be devicive and try to break the dispute. You may notice i call it a dispute rather than strike, this is because in the main it was a management lock out that was not widely publicised. Many staff are of the opinion the VAS should stick to the motto “where ever a crowd gathers” rather than depriving people of real jobs. If you ask them directly, a lot will say its not the person, it is the uniform and can hapily cope with them in civies.wopit

    Operational ambulance crew and SJA member

  4. I was near Lucas Avn on friday afternoon and I was attracted by the crowds I couldn't resist the tempation of looking. If it was “Gas” then it was odd that the police were allowing people to watch. I am glad that it turned out to be nothing. I feel okay. I think.

  5. Thanks Wopit, I didn't know about the disputes, but it explains a lot. If the keen volunteers were effectvely crossing picket lines, I'm not surprised the professionals got wound up – I know I would.Most of my fellow members know that what we in the VAS do best is support the statutory services when events need a level of medical provision that goes above the usual levels required – such as the LAS operations at Live8 and the London bombings last week, both of which St. John Ambulance played a part in. I'm hoping to reach AA2 level in the next few years (the highest level you can currently reach in SJA, also known as “accident and emergency technician”) but I know I couldn't handle the rotating shift patterns and constant psychological assault that faces paramedics & technicians as they do their job, which is why ambulance work remains, for me, a 'hobby'

    A little more respect from both the volunteers and the professionals for their counterparts would go a long way – the VAS allowing professionals to protest when they deserve better working conditions, and the statutory services realising that although we may lack hands-on experience, and only drive shiny white vans at the weekends, our level of commitment to patient care is no less than theirs – can't we all just get along?

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