accessibility & help

British Red Cross first aid teams keep St Pauls Carnival revellers safe

For immediate release: Tuesday, June 28, 2011
For further information: Rebecca McIlhone
Contact number: 0117 3012624 or 07525 128297

The British Red Cross will provide first aid cover at St Pauls Carnival, Bristol, on Saturday (July 2). A dedicated team of more than 30 volunteers, trained to deal with anything from a headache to a heart attack, will ensure carnival-goers receive prompt medical care in the event of illness or injury.

Working in shifts, 35 first aid volunteers, including seven ambulance crews and extra support staff will be on duty during the day. As well as a large first aid post in St Pauls Learning and Family Centre, on Grosvenor Road, Red Cross volunteers will also be on foot patrol around the carnival to respond quickly to any incidents as they happen. Four Red Cross ambulances, equipped with defibrillators, spinal boards, and other life-saving equipment, will also be on site.

Red Cross first aid volunteers are highly skilled and trained in life-saving techniques like CPR and defibrillator use. Many are also qualified in advanced first aid such as trauma management. First aid duty officer, volunteer Luke Hillman says: “Red Cross first aid training gets better and better and when you’re able to help someone it’s incredibly satisfying.”

“I work as a duty officer for St Pauls and help arrange first aid cover from start to finish. It’s very rewarding giving a briefing on Saturday morning and seeing how well our guys deal with incidents during the day.”

The Red Cross will work alongside Great Western Ambulance Service to ensure all incidents, no matter what level of seriousness, will be dealt with quickly and professionally. Around 60,000 people are expected at the carnival. Last year the Red Cross dealt with 50 casualties.

The Red Cross has a history of providing first aid cover at major events in the region. The organisation recently covered the Badminton Horse Trials. The next big event on the agenda is the WOMAD festival, in Wiltshire, followed by the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta, which regularly attracts crowds of 100,000. Last year the Red Cross provided ten staff, 100 volunteers and seven vehicles over the four days to respond to first aid emergencies.

If you would like to book the Red Cross to provide first aid at your event, visit the website: and click on the Event First Aid link.

First Aid Tips for Summer Festivals:


Strains and sprains

Strains and sprains should be treated initially by the ‘RICE’ procedure:

- R: rest the injured part
- I: apply ice or a cold compress
- C: comfortably support the injury
- E: elevate the injured part


Heat stroke

This potentially dangerous condition occurs when the body is unable to cool itself by sweating, due to illness or prolonged exposure to heat and humidity. The use of drugs such as ecstasy can raise the body temperature and may lead to heatstroke. 

Signs and symptoms include:

Restlessness, headache, dizzy feeling, flushed and very hot skin, rapid loss of consciousness, fast, strong pulse and raised body temperature.

1. Get the casualty to a cool place and lie them down and make them comfortable
2. Cool them with a cold wet sheet if available.  If not, use water or a fan
3. Call an ambulance
4. When their temperature returns to normal replace the wet sheet with a dry one.
5. Monitor their symptoms until help arrives


Heat exhaustion

This condition is caused by an abnormal loss of salt and water from the body through excessive sweating. It usually develops gradually.   
Signs and symptoms include:

Cramp-like pains and/or headache, pale, moist skin, fast, weak pulse, slightly raised temperature

1. Help the casualty to lie down in a cool place
2. Raise their legs to improve blood flow.
3. Cool them with water or a fan
4. Give the casualty plenty of water to drink or a non-fizzy drink to replace lost fluids.
5. Call an ambulance.


Alcohol and drug poisoning

Signs and Symptoms include:

Smell of alcohol, loss of co-ordination; confusion, flushed face, deep, noisy breathing.  If stimulant drugs have been taken they may have a raised body temperature and other symptoms of heatstroke
1. Help the casualty to sit or lie down in a warm, comfortable place if possible.
2. Cover him with a blanket or coat to help keep him warm.
3. Monitor symptoms and get medical help if necessary


Notes to editors

If you would like more information about any of the upcoming events the Red Cross is providing first aid at please contact Rebecca McIlhone on 0117 3012624 or 07525 128297.

The British Red Cross helps people in crisis, whoever and wherever they are. We are part of a global voluntary network, responding to conflicts, natural disasters and individual emergencies.

We enable vulnerable people in the UK and abroad to prepare for and withstand emergencies in their own communities. And when the crisis is over, we help them to recover and move on with their lives.

Follow us on Twitter: BRC_WandW

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