Weekly Photo Challenge: Together

In the event of a major medical emergency the London Ambulance Service normally dispatches two units.   A Fast Response Unit (FRU) and an Ambulance.   The thinking is that a smaller vehicle will make better time to the scene, providing medical assistance sooner.  A bonus is that, when the Ambulance arrives, there is a third medically trained person at the scene.   This is why you often see these units together at an incident.*

In London the FRU’s are a mix of estate cars and motorcycles, normally referred to as Paramedics.   There are also Cycle Response Units (CRU) in Inner London where the traffic is heaviest and there are also a number of large parks making normal road access difficult.

Outside BudgensFRU and Ambulance attending a collapsed person at a local supermarket

At Wingate & Finchley

Attending an Incident at Wingate & Finchley FC.

There’s a bit of a story behind this shot… A player collapsed on the pitch and the Ambulance was summoned.  The Paramedic and Ambulance arrived within a couple of minutes of each other and tended the player in the dressing room – it turned out that he had a bad case of concussion.   However, when it came to time to transfer him to Hospital the Ambulance crew discovered that the rear tyre of the ambulance was suffering from a slow puncture making it unsuitable for patient transfer.  So a second Ambulance was called.   On arrival, the replacement ambulance mistakenly dived into the next door Rugby club and the paramedic was dispatched on foot to fetch them round to the correct location.  In the photo you can see him returning with the second Ambulance behind – squeezing past his FRU vehicle.

Time for a ChatSometimes an incident proves to be less of an emergency than at first thought.  So, it’s a chance for the hard working crews to take a 5 minute break and chat before the next shout 🙂

This post is dedicated to the crews of the London Ambulance Service who save lives every day around the capital.

*The information given in the introduction is my understanding as an observing member of the public of how things work and not a statement of official LAS policy.   More views of LAS vehicles and crews can be found on Flickr in the London Ambulance Service group.



  1. The best people always there to serve!

  2. This one is wonderful way to dedicate a post to those few people who work 24×7; for the common people like us. I hope this kind of service will be there in every city of my country. Great post. 🙂

  3. I wondered about the smaller vehicles. That’s pretty clever. They really need something like this in the States.

    • Hi TBM – In the UK it’s funded out of tax payers money as a part of the National Health Service (you can see the NHS logo clearly on the rear of the vehicle in the last photo). Don’t know how Ambulance services are funded in the US – if they’re privately run it might prove difficult to implement as profit will be a major consideration for the operator. I remember a cartoon I saw once from an American magazine where a Doctor had his hand inside a patient’s jacket. The quote went – “Is there a Pulse Doc?” “Pulse? I dunno, I’m checkin for his wallet!” I remember it because we re-used it in our union magazine when Margaret Thatcher was attacking the NHS in this country with intent to privatise sections of it (a Tory party habit).

  4. In emergency situtations, I’m sure working together is to the benefit of all parties concerned…especially the victim. Our emergency crews work together in teams, too.

    • Hi Marcy, I thought that would be the case – But see TBM’s comment above. Looks like it varies from state to state. It probably varies from one Ambulance Service to another over here too! 🙂

  5. great dedicated people what would we do without them just hope cameron keeps his greedy hands off their wages too xjen

    • Hi Jen – great to hear from you 🙂 yes, I mentioned the Tory habit in response to a previous comment. The NHS is safe in our hands… We believe you – Not!

  6. thirdhandart says:

    Great entry for the challenge Martin! 🙂 Was there a photo of a Cycle Response Unit in your previous post, Picture Post – London Marathon 2012?

    • Yes Theresa, That’s a pair of them 🙂 – They confused me at the time because they dived off to join the St.john ambulance crew outside the YHA place but I can see the LAS crest on the side of the saddle bags. A bit of a Symphony in dayglow green that shot 😉

  7. Very interesting look at an important inside working of the city. Well done, Martin!

  8. great post, and so interesting, with a story as well, thank you martin!

  9. Nice work, Martin! And a great bit of recognition for those hard-working men and women, too! Don’t know how they do it – I’d be a nervous wreck… couldn’t handle it at all! I definitely appreciate what these folks do each and every day!

    • Thanks Bob – we’re clearly on the same channel 🙂 I don’t do medical but I have put a couple of telephone exchanges back into service after fires – we go in very close to the tails of the firefighters 😉

      By the way, apologies for late response – just had a long weekend away with our Cub Scouts. Fantastic experience – makes me feel young again 😉

  10. I’ve never seen Ambulances that colour before. Ours are white. Ambulance crews sure are an important part of the community & we couldn’t do without these wonderful people. Too bad our incompetent government doesn’t recognise how important they are. Here they are cutting back funding to hospitals & emergency services to save money while they waste it on other unimportant pet projects.

  11. Paramedics have saved my life twice. I am eternally grateful and a huge admirer.


  1. […] Weekly Photo Challenge: Together – Thoughts from Finchley. […]

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