And so we find ourselves watching the TV with indignant sounding news presenters asking those in power 'Why wasn't something done!'. Sadly none of those being interviewed gave the answer I would have, “How much extra tax would you like to pay so that this one in twenty years event has no impact on your life?”
We aren't Russia, or Denmark or any of those cold countries, and the cost to fully prepare for aberrant weather conditions like this would be too high.
It did seem that the London Ambulance Service was a bit unprepared. Did you know that we don't have anything to go on the wheels of an ambulance to stop it slipping in the snow? We have some covers for the officer's cars, but nothing for the vehicles that actually take you to hospital. To be fair, I'm not sure if this is economics, or down to a technical issue that they aren't able to be fitted by staff themselves.
The other problem that I heard over the radio was that some hospitals have ramps leading to their A&E department, and that the ambulances weren't able to climb them – so at least one 'blue call' had to bypass one hospital and head to one further away, one that had a ground floor entrance.
If you look closely at the ambulance on the right, you can see that it's a bit damaged. What you won't see is the damage caused to my ambulance by some idiot driving into it (and I'll tell you that story tomorrow).
Locally at least, we do have more blankets than we had this time last year, so it's not all bad.
The snow did seem to have taken LAS management by surprise though – there was only one Duty Station Officer covering the entire East side of London. Given that we were the third ambulance to have an accident, and that an officer should deal with each of those I would suggest that the next time severe weather is predicted the resourcing of officers might need to be improved a bit.
It was also about midnight when 'Gold Control', the people who normally worry about how much of our ORCON targets we are hitting decided to suspend the rest break policy. The message that was sent down the vehicle computer terminal seemed to suggest that forced overtime would be compulsory.
I doubt that that was the case, but it's definitely what it read like.
As NeeNaw says,
“I’m watching the TV before my nightshift tonight. They keep saying “the ambulance service is under severe pressure and will only respond to life threatening calls”. Surely we should only be responding to life threatening calls anyway?”
Which is sweet, but I suspect that, were I working tonight, I'd still be going to the usual twaddle of runny noses and one instance of vomiting.