23 December 2013
As thousands of revellers turn out for the festive party season, our first aid volunteers are stationed in numerous town centres to help those who get injured – or just a little too tipsy.
Christmas is notoriously a busy time for the emergency services.
Packed town and city centres – combined with a heady mixture of alcohol, arguments and often slippery surfaces – predictably lead to many casualties.
But for people whose injuries aren’t too serious, our volunteers can provide immediate help at mobile first aid units – affectionately known as ‘booze buses’.
Working with the police and ambulance services, and other charities, they save many revellers a trip to hospital. Importantly, they also help take pressure off over-worked hospital staff.
This festive season, the British Red Cross will be stationed at busy spots in Brighton, Torquay, Birmingham, Preston, Glasgow, Dundee, Edinburgh, Wrexham and Rhyll. Although some of the mobile units are just out for the festive season, many run throughout the year.
First aider Alex Hayward, who is on duty in Birmingham, said: “Typical patients at our mobile units include those who’ve had too much to drink, or have suffered cuts, bruises and sprained ankles.
“Mostly, they don’t need a trip to A&E – just some minor medical help – so we’re the perfect solution.”
He added: “Last New Year’s Eve, we treated more than 80 patients who, thanks to us, avoided a night at hospital. These nights are exciting and unpredictable, but there’s always one certainty – there’ll be a steady stream of patients to keep us busy.”