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Marathon effort for first aid volunteers

29 March 2009

Marathon runnersLloyd Sturdy (BRC)When 15,000 runners and 10,000 spectators gathered for the Reading Half Marathon on 29 March, they were kept safe by 142 British Red Cross volunteers and staff who provided first aid cover.

Dedicated and highly trained first aid volunteers manned first aid posts all along the 13.1 mile route. The Red Cross team also provided ten crewed ambulances directed by a course communications and control hub manned by Red Cross volunteers and based at Wokingham Ambulance Station.

Treating major injuries

The Red Cross team treated 99 casualties, including 12 significant injuries with six patients transported to hospital.

Service manager Sonia Balmont said: "We rely very heavily on the volunteers to resource this event – both in terms of their skills and experience and also the equipment that is needed to make sure that this event is a success."

Pulling out the stops

She continued: "Of course, our volunteers always pull out the stops regardless of the size of event that they are asked to cover but it is quite humbling to see so many volunteers and vehicles in one place."

Red Cross volunteers came from as far afield as Hampshire, Essex, London, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire to help out at the event. As well as the first aid and ambulance provision, a team dealt with the catering and welfare needs of personnel and casualties.

Two NHS ambulance crews and a number of doctors also crewed the event and treatment areas along with ten volunteers from St John Ambulance.

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