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.
FRU and Ambulance attending a collapsed person at a local supermarket
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.
Sometimes 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.