Tips for BASICS Responders

BASICS Responders provide prehospital care across Scotland, especially in rural and remote areas.

BASICS Responders provide prehospital care across Scotland, especially in rural and remote areas.

BASICS Scotland co-ordinates over 300 emergency responders in Scotland.  Ranging in background, they include paramedics, nurses, GPs and hospital doctors.  As well as providing multiple training courses in prehospital care, the organisation enables health professionals in rural Scotland to provide an essential backup to the ambulance service – for incidents where an ambulance will take some time to attend, where there are multiple casualties, or where specific skills are required.

More information can be found on the BASICS Scotland website.

If you are a new BASICS Scotland responder you may find the following tips helpful.

  • Keep some essential equipment in your protective jacket.  I carry some OP airways, stethoscope, headtorch, warm hat, nitrile gloves and a pencil/paper.  Carry some food and fluids in your car too.
  • Organise your kit how you want it.  It’s your kit so make sure you know how to get at it.
  • Ensure that your ambulance control centre (ACC) is aware of your skills and availability.  At first, you may find it helpful to contact your ACC several times a week in order to highlight your availability to all the ambulance dispatchers who task calls in your region.
  • Remember that you can always decline a call – sometimes you will be busy, tired, not willing to travel the distance or will have had alcohol.  If this is the case, say so with brevity, and allow the dispatcher to call on the next resource on their list.
  • Send your report forms forms back to BASICS Scotland – it’s important that they get a picture of what calls are attended, so that includes any that are relatively mild and “undramatic”, and also any calls for which you are subsequently stood down en route.
  • If you have any interesting cases, let the Sandpiper Trust know – they are also keen for feedback and stories about when their kit has been helpful.
  • Consider assigning a different ringtone to ACC so that these calls are easily identifiable.
  • If asked to attend a property at night, consider asking control to request that someone stands outside the property, or that all the house lights are turned on so that you can easily determine the incident locus.

Making yourself available for BASICS responding  involves commitment to training and making yourself available during less sociable hours, but it can also be a hugely rewarding and satisfying thing to do.  If you want to talk through whether this might be for you, you can contact your local regional representative from BASICS Scotland.

For more information about becoming a responder with BASICS Scotland, you can download the New Responder Factsheet (pdf, 500KB).
Photo © BASICS Scotland, used with permission.
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