Danger Bus

The other night I was working with a friend of mine, he's built like the proverbial out-house, is a martial arts master and looks scary. While I'm not an expert fighter I tend to have no fear.

That night we earned our name as the 'Danger Bus'.

It must have been that the police had fewer numbers than normal as job after job was us being sent to 'Fight'. No injuries reported, just that there had been a fight (or that a fight was in progress). Sometimes we would get more details, sometimes it would just be that word.

There are two ways of dealing with a job like this. 'Officially' we are supposed to hold back from the scene of violence until we are either sure that it is safe, or we have a police escort. What often happens in real life is that we will 'take a look', we tend to know when a scene is dangerous and often don't want to bother the police who are as overworked as ourselves. Sometimes something in the description of the call will give us cause to want the police there.

This job was one of them. It was given as 'Russians fighting in house'.

If you work with Russians in an emergency setting you will be nodding your head and agreeing with me that this situation was too dangerous for us to enter.

You see… I like Russians, they are fun, normally polite and tend not to make a fuss. However, when they have been drinking and fighting… well… Lets just say that when they fight they tend to play for keeps. I've seen 'friends' beating each other over the head with planks of wood – then refusing to go to hospital as the inch long gashes in their scalp were 'nothing to worry about'. Being between two fighting Russians is not a safe place to be.

So we waited for the police to arrive which didn't take too long – then we advanced using the police as a shield. It doesn't look too good to need police to go into the job, especially when they are both female and are half the size of us. But you know what – I'm no sexist so I know that they are more than capable of handling pretty much anything. While it might not look good, I felt a lot safer.

The patient had a rather large split to the lip that would require an operation in a specialist unit, nothing life threatening but nasty nevertheless.

The next 'Fight' we went to was in a DLR train station. The police had arrived before us and were told, to quote the officer we met, “You can go lads, it was two teenagers and one of them gave the other a slap – I told them to stop being silly”. We could see the two teenagers slinking off into the night.

If people were nicer to each other I might be able to get a cup of tea once in a while.

21 thoughts on “Danger Bus”

  1. do you believe any of the seasonal psychiatry stuff?I mean, SAD is one thing, feeling depressed because the sun's not shining any more, not firing off the chemicals into people's brains, they think they should be hibernating but instead are forcing themselves to get up and go to work, I get that bit.But I seem to have been reading more and more bits in the news of late about how in September couples are supposed to be arguing more and people are supposed to feel unhappier and be more irritable and so on. This post made me think of it too.Real, just a coincidence, or just an amazing example of how some people manage to get paid for pretending to study things we didn't realise there was any point in studying?

  2. If that was Friday night, explains why the police didn't get to me after my slight incident!!!Could i just say thanks to all of your lovely colleagues who took care of me on Friday night when i got knocked down on the crossing near Wanstead Park Station. They managed to get me to Newham Hospital without going over any speed bumps, which I appreicated being on a board with neck brace on. apparently i was a scoop and run!! fortunately nothing to wrong with me, just right side covered in bruises and very stiff.There are people in our delightful area who do appreicate what you do and try not to swear at you, no matter how much pain we are in as we know it isn't your fault.hope you get your cup of tea soon :)Rachelxx

  3. I know exactly what you mean, I live a mere stones throw from newham hospital and tho it takes a lot to scare me I will cross the road to avoid those from the eastern states who seem to have fallen out with each other.

  4. I believe in it to an extent (I live nowadays in the Swedish Arctic so I know me 'nanas when it comes to winter darkness and summer sunlit nights!!!) but I wouldnt have expected any really noticeable increase in seasonal behaviour change in the UK until the clocks change in October……….or……? Would be interesting to see Tom's slant on it.By the way Tom – been reading your blog for a while now – excellent stuff and it's changed so much over even just a year. Plus it helps me remember I'm English when surrounded by these weird-talking Swedes!!

  5. I'm half Russian and know what you mean about the berserkers. An unbalanced folk, in the sense that some of them take seconds to go from best buddies to completely round the bend. Alcohol helps. Sometimes other Russians turn the resulting mess into great literature. Most times, it just means more ambulance work…. Be nice if they could figure out that more tea means less blood and sweat.

  6. Batsgirl I do believe in the full moon making things go a bit on the odd side and so do most others in the field of emergency care, (plod and trumpton too) add to that the first week end after pay then throw in a bank holiday and a dash of a big football match (England International)and all hell could break loose.

  7. i'm sure i read somewhere recently that the full moon thing wasn't true. some bunch of egg head types studies LOADS of other people's studies, divorce rates, people-getting-arrested rates, A and E admissions and stacks of other stuff. they compared full moon nights to normal nights and found that the only statistical difference was that psychiatric admissions were actually LESS on the full moon nights.I love russians too. although they do seem to be very fond of pretty ambulance women.

  8. this is it – as far as I'm concerned, in England right now, it still counts as summer. No one is really wearing a jacket, no one is in a hurry to turn their heating on, some friends of mine had a barbecue yesterday, we've not changed the clocks, the only thing that has really happened (in a general, happens-every-year sense rather than a “news” sense) is that the kids are back at school.

  9. Must be an Eastern Europe thing, we have Lithuanians and Poles where I work and they batter each other senseless for fun then refuse to go. Leaves us free to deal with the (unfortunately) English timewasters though!

  10. Full moon, weekend nights, pay day. Yup, must be my turn for weekend nights again. All I need to round that off is it to be a bank holiday and I know I'm being punished for something.

  11. You know, it's weird, up here it's all about bloody ice hockey (can't see the attraction myself). There's no connection at all between drunken ice hockey fans and violence (including on kids!!!) and one would be a fool (and presumably a communist) to make such a connection – yet up here the word “hooligan” is only synonomous with football……..so it's no surprise then that a full moon, the end of summer, the start of the ice hockey season and the rise in violent incidents involving drunk men all coincide to make the local EMTs feel the same sense of being punished for something. I'd suggest they're being unfairly punished for the stupidity of a few idiots….but what's new there…..

  12. OK, I'll probably get barred as too wierd, but often I get no sleep on a full moon, and my Mum, who had nocturnal epilepsy for a while, only had fits on a full moon. However being a Brummie, lunatic is a compliment.On the Russian bit – lovely people, but just about the only nation on earth with a worse relationship to alcohol than us. My fella has gone to business meetings there, where, at 10.30 am the vodka bottle appears to toast the new venture – the litre bottle has a ring pull as it is not expected to need closing. He's found the best way to avoid being paralytic by lunch time is to state that he's an alcoholic and no longer allowed to drink. Here that would be a social stigma – despite our love of the booze – there it was met with dignity and respect. Ya otchen lyooblyoo rossia.

  13. *Deviates neatly from the usual comments*DANGER BUS!

    Racing through the night,


    ain't It half a fright?


    Look out for the flashing lights!


    Tom'll Fix you up all Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight!

    But as with the Russians – Don't blame you, frankly.

    Being a bartender, I see lots of conflicts involving alcohol, and I'll put my money on a drunk russian over anyone –

    We had a female bartender who was 4'1″ and Russian, and after she had a few Red bull and Vodkas in her, Jesus hairy Christ you wouldn't want to get in her way – She got arrested once when we were out clubbing, and Banned from that particular club for beating someone up.

    That someone being the 15 stone Maori Bouncer.

  14. Hey, I'm half Russian too! The other half is British, but after a few drinks, the stiff upper lip is gone and I'm a wild woman! My ex used to be scared of me, and I'm petite and slim and usually ever so mild mannered.

  15. “In an emergency setting”? Try ANY setting, like buying shares in an oil company or something.Nice blog, saw the FT article and I'm certainly not disappointed. The book's on my list to pick up next time I'm in the English-speaking world.

  16. I quite agree Tom, the whole state of affairs is getting well out of hand. I went to a big fight a few days ago, whilst standing by waiting for the police to make the scene safe, the amount of abuse we got from certain members of the public because we wouldnt go in because “there was a man dying in there” was unbeliveable! I really don't think people understand. When we did get to the scene the man who “was dying” in fact had a small head wound and had feined unconsciousness to try and avoid the rest of the fight!It's about time people took responsibility for themselves, drank less and accepted responsibility for their actions. Under the influence in my book is not a valid excuse. I meet many good natured drunk people, but these are far outnumbered by the ones who are very unpleasent, spit on the floor of the vehicle and vomit/urinate where they are sitting. I hate going into town on a night out becuase it's just like being at work…even the same kind of people manage to get in your way!

    At this stage we aren't provided with body armour but it's only time and a sign of the times that ambulance staff have to be protected. Don't get me wrong the gun/knife crime in Bristol isnt a patch of what it is in London, Manchester etc, but we aren't far behind. Maybe you could tell us a bit about the guidance you are given on wearing your body armour Tom?

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