27 June 2016
A British Red Cross volunteer unexpectedly found himself at the scene of a serious road incident in the Scottish Highlands this month.
Emergency response volunteer Dave Young from Erbusaig, was driving a Red Cross vehicle to Inverness when he came across the multi-vehicle incident on the A87.
He had been on route to support the Highland Cross event taking place the next day.
Right place, right time
Police, fire and ambulance crews were already on the scene but Dave approached them to see if he could be of any assistance.
Dave happened to be driving our national emergency communications vehicle. This helps the Red Cross to respond to emergencies, particularly those in remote areas.
It carries a variety of communications equipment as well as medical supplies, blankets, food, water and heavy recovery equipment.
Dave has been volunteering for the Red Cross for around 10 years and is a communications systems engineer by trade – meaning he is well placed to operate and maintain the vehicle. He is also medically qualified up to ambulance crew level.
“I know my skills, limitations and what equipment I have,” Dave said.
“When I came across the incident, I informed the scene commander who I was and if they would like assistance.
“We do a lot of emergency response work in the Scottish Highlands, so the emergency services know about us and what we can do.”
Put to use
Dave was first asked to block the road with his vehicle to provide a safe landing site for the ambulance helicopter.
On request, he then supported the ambulance crew to treat casualties. The most seriously injured person was trapped within one of the vehicles.
As this casualty was stuck for some time, the portable oxygen being used from the ambulance was running low. Dave was able to provide more from the Red Cross vehicle.
The teams also requested observational equipment from the vehicle to help monitor the casualty’s condition.
Once freed, they were flown to hospital in Inverness while other casualties were taken to hospital in ambulances. All casualties are now doing well.
Throughout the incident, Dave was supported over the phone by two Red Cross staff, Nigel Stafford and Anne Eadie.
A job well done
The national emergency communications vehicle has been used in a range of emergency situations, such as supporting the community of Ballater in Scotland during bad flooding early this year.
It is also used at a number of organised events such as the Belladrum Tartan Hearts Festival.
Speaking about his role as a volunteer, Dave said:
“I always feel that I am somewhat privileged to be in a position to help. If I can, I will always offer to do so.
“I couldn’t do what I do without the dedicated team of volunteers and staff that have supported me and trained me. We work well together in a tight-knit team and are also great friends.” ·