A Night On The FRU

Grief – a Saturday night alone on the FRU makes for a not very happy Tom.
So I'm just snuggling down for a little kip on station, it's about 3am in the morning and all seems quiet, the temperature outside is somewhere around freezing so laying on the sofa wrapped in my fleece is looking like a really good idea.

Obviously the activation phone decides to ring and I soon find myself speeding far out of my area to a 'life status questionable'.

His life status wasn't questionable, his sobriety was. One of our friends from Europe, he had been drinking and decided to have a sleep in the doorway of a shop. Granted if I hadn't gone and woken him up he may had frozen to death, as he was a nice enough bloke I couldn't be too angry. It also put me very close to 'The Log Cabin' which meant I could go and have a hot, filling 'Gob Job' before trying to catch forty winks.

Of course, halfway through the cooking of this gastronomic delight I get another job. I could tell what sort of job it was going to be – someone had dialled '999', said 'Hello', then hung up. For some reason (maybe one to ask Nee Naw), this was coded as another 'Life status questionable'.

“I'll be back in a minute”, I said to the domestic goddess cooking my burger.

I dutifully screamed through the streets of Whipps Cross to find, to my utter surprise, an empty phone box.

“Hello Control”, I called up on my radio, “I have a lack of any dead or dying people here, please cancel the ambulance, I'm calling it as a hoax”.

It was then a quick drive back to collect and eat my burger.

The drive would have been quicker had some drunk not tried to jump into the car so I could, “just take me up the road”. When I refused I was sworn at, but that didn't bother me much as I had a nice hot burger waiting for me.

The jobs I did that night were…

2 hoaxes

1 painful knee

1 hot child

1 drunk …

and an alcoholic with liver failure.

This is not good when you need inspiration.

26 thoughts on “A Night On The FRU”

  1. Yeah, FRED is no help whatsoever as it keeps not dispatching FRUs that are green on station and cancelling other FRUs for no apparent reason. If they get it working properly, it might be useful. Of course, if they get it working *too* well, they won't need us any more…

  2. Tom, Greetings from Kazakhstan !Just read the book, and found the blog. New to this whole blog thing. Makes excellent reading. Can empathise with everything you go through…

    Keep up the excellent work


  3. You cheeky bastards! That sounds absolutely DELICIOUS! Here in the States, particularly the wasteland in which I live, we've got nothing like that. As it is, even the gasoline stations aren't open at 03:00!Now I get to go stumble off to bed and have lovely dreams about that sandwich. Yum!

    I'm so jealous. 🙁

  4. What not even a beautiful dawn for inspiration?Keep your chin up; the nights will start to get shorter soon. (Do people who work night shifts get the winter blues more easily than people who work nine till five?)


  5. Was on the RRV/RFU last night. (overtime…nice). Called to a job ?unco ?breathing. Rocks up to the address to find distraught woman outside screaming..”help me, help him, hes dead!”So, as you probaly are aware, this bodes a not good situation. I take in the resus bag, the defib/monitor and the green bag (which is the size of a small European country) and make haste to the front door of the flat.

    Once inside I find the patient/casualty…pissed! And smacked off his tits (medical expression) on coke and “phets”.

    Needless to say he did not want to go to hospital. His girlfriend on the other hand looked like see was going to arrest! She suffers from panic attacks.

    On the upside when I came clear I was too was near to an excellent eating emporium!

  6. If ever we're both in the area I'll buy you the best burger they can make – and a tea too. And that's coming from the guy who trained Scrooge.

  7. Those “life status questionable” things come up if the call taker inputs “yes” to “is the caller with the patient?” and then “unknown” or “no” to “is he conscious?” or “is he alert?”. Yes, I think that's stupid too. Looks like someone made a mistake on that second one, it should have been an amber.

  8. We were passed what the dispatcher was pretty certain was a hoax call. “Don't go yet,” he said. “I'm calling the ringback number.”The call had come from a phone box close to the station, and, when the dispatcher rang it back, the phone was picked up by a passer-by who gave a good description of a child of about 11 legging it up the road. The dispatcher called us back to stand us down, the meanwhile telling my partner what had happened. With a cry of “There's the little bugger now!” my partner shot out of the door, apprehending said miscreant with a terrifying roar of “You; stop right there!!!”

    The child – a girl – dithered about running, but, at that moment, the police – alerted by the EMDC – rolled up and took matters in hand. A significant adult (her mother) was duly collected, and off they went to the nick where the lassie was interviewed, AND CHARGED!

    About an hour later – tear begrat, and thoroughly chastened, she was marched, by her father, into the ambulance station, and made to stumble through an apology. He apologised too, telling us that she had been grounded for a fortnight, then marched her out again.

    OK, it was a sledgehammer to a walnut, and, of course, she received just a police caution. However, the effect of whirlwind-speed capture and thunderclap retribution should not be underestimated; the news evidently got round, because it was over a year until our next hoax call!

  9. Re green bags. Why is it that the people responsible for drawing up the “essential contents ” lists for these things cannot understand the difference between “As little as you can get away with” and “As much as a human being can possibly carry”?

  10. Thanks for that – I often wonder at some of the vicissitudes of AMPDS.Still, you have to keep your sense of humour don't you.

    I take it (from discussion with the desk) that 'FRED' is as popular up there as it is down here with the FRU pilots.

  11. Do people who work night shifts get the winter blues more easily than people who work nine till five?Aye – anyone working nights who blocks out the daylight to sleep (which they probably have to do, otherwise their sleep will be even crappier than just resetting your body clock makes it) and so technically night shift workers can get “SAD” any time of the year. Which is part of why depression is more common in those working regular nights (in addition to the obvious effects on relationships, friendships etc). If someone is working nights during the winter, where there are less than 8 hours between sunrise and sunset, it's theoretically possible that they'll never see daylight while they're awake, so the chances of them suffering SAD are likely to be much higher.

    Just imagine what it must be like living north of the Arctic circle. I saw a TV program about Troms a few days ago. It's the northern most city in the world, and the sun doesn't rise for around 9 weeks in the winter and doesn't set for about the same amount of time in the summer. During the winter, they have no more than an hour or two of dusk, and they have a huge sun party on the first day the sun actually peeks over the horizon in January. On the one hand you have winter depression and the other you have summer insomnia!

  12. I too have just read the book, and am new to this blog idea! Liking it though, your humour really makes me giggle!Can particularly relate to the part in your book where you mention that the youngest child of a non-english speaking family is used as an interpreter. This is often the case in my line of work, and I never cease to wonder if the childs is actually interpreting what has been said!

  13. Kazakhstan. Wow. No offense AT ALL to Tom, but the comments can be as interesting as the main event on this blog. If you start a blog about your work out there, let us know!

  14. Well i can only say that it seems as if it is inspiring of the day to dayness of what i thought was a action packed job, i can only hope that when you all group up on wednesday with your friends that your roleplay will go well, and you will forget the dullness of it and have fun, unless work does mess that up also…

  15. Nice one! If it helped an ambulance get to a genuine callout a bit faster due to fewer hoaxes, it was totally justified, IMO.

  16. Hi,I really enjoy reading your blog. I've been reading it for months now and am hopefully getting your book for christmas 🙂 I am sort of in the same line of work as you, well actually not really, but I think we are out to achieve the same thing. I have been so inspired by reading your blog I have started my own, obviously it won't be as eventful and interesting as yours. But hey, have a look if you like.


    Take care.


  17. I notice the nutritional information is oddly missing from The Log Cabin's menu board. I mean, how bad for you can a half pound burger, bacon, egg, sausage and cheese IN THE SAME SANDWICH be ?

  18. Two things surprise me -1) that more ambulance people don't get food poisoning and 2) that more ambulance people aren't morbidly obese. Mostly the second one…

  19. Probably not as bad as you'd think for someone who's young(ish), fit and has a physically demanding job in the open air.It's only us desk jockeys who get no exercise who have to really worry about the fat and cholesterol. Sad but true 🙁

  20. I suppose though that as patients are getting fatter, so taking more energy to lift and carry, medics are burning off more calories and thus the problem is kind of self-limiting…? :o)

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