Guernsey’s Chief Ambulance Officer has marked Volunteers Week by thanking members of the St John Ambulance decontamination team who have been supporting the Emergency Ambulance Service during the coronavirus pandemic.
Mark Mapp said: “I’d like to thank all the volunteers who have given their time to help over the past few months. Deep cleaning an ambulance can take more than an hour and that was taking both vehicles and clinicians off call for long periods. Thankfully the volunteers have been available day and night ready to react to the call for assistance”.
During normal times ambulance staff would be responsible for cleaning their own ambulances, but as the coronavirus pandemic emerged more stringent cleaning of vehicles was required which was potentially putting crews off call.
Mr Mapp added: “The decontamination team have made an enormous difference to our ability to maintain a fully functioning ambulance service during periods of high demand by allowing medical teams to be available to respond to the next emergency in another vehicle.”
Volunteers from the decontamination team came from a variety of backgrounds. Some were existing St John volunteers who would normally be providing first aid cover at public events, others were new to the charity and came forward to help as the coronavirus crisis developed.
New volunteer Kelly McCarthy said: “I volunteered as I wanted to help the community and emergency services during the pandemic. The appreciation from the ambulance crews was outstanding. St John provides an amazing service to our island and without them, how different our experience of Covid-19 could have been!”
St John volunteers have also been helping to collect and deliver prescriptions and urgent groceries for people who have been self-isolating, shielding or unable to get out during the lockdown.