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View from the Trackside

Find out more about the people behind the Tour at Yorkshire Ambulance Service…

Pedalling Paramedic Saves Lives

Sharon - YAS ParamedicSharon is a YAS Paramedic and she will be hitting the tarmac this weekend on two wheels instead of four as she joins the Trust’s Life Cycle scheme during the Tour de France Grand Départ 2014.

Sharon has worked for the ambulance service for over 21 years, starting out in Manchester, and has been a Paramedic for the last 19 years.

Sharon said: “I usually work from a Rapid Response Vehicle (RRV) at Ripon station but when I heard the Trust was looking to extend its Life Cycle scheme in Harrogate, I put my name down. I passed the fitness test, underwent a three-day training course in May with my colleagues Jamie, Donald and Chris, and I’ve been out and about in the town getting a feel for life as a Paramedic on a bike over the last few weeks.”

As well as being nimble and often first on scene, the Life Cycle has also given Sharon the chance to get to know the people of Harrogate a little better too.

Sharon explained: “The Life Cycle is still fairly new to Harrogate and lots of people stop me for advice, to ask about what I’m up to or even for medical assistance – it feels great to be able to work so closely with the people we’re here to help.”

Sharon will join other staff members across the county to support the Tour de France Grand Départ 2014 on 5 and 6 July. She will be working with a wide range of ambulance staff and resources to ensure the Trust remains fully operational and can care for its communities across the county as well as the estimated two million spectators who are expected to visit Yorkshire for the Tour.

Sharon added: “I’m scheduled to be on days off during the Tour but I volunteered to work as it’s a fantastic opportunity to be involved in an international sporting event. I love my job and I’m really excited to be taking part, it’s a real privilege!”

About the Life Cycle

Carrying the same range of equipment in two compact panniers as an ambulance Rapid Response Vehicle (RRV), a Life Cycle boasts its own defibrillator, blue flashing strobe lights and sirens. Dispatched simultaneously with an ambulance, it can often be first on the scene in a town’s network of pedestrianised streets and the life-saving care it provides is of real benefit to patients.


YAS Emergency Medical Despatcher, Chris, is taking in a change of scenery for the Tour

Emergency Medical Despatcher and cardiac arrest survivor Chris is swapping his headset for a first aid kit this weekend as he volunteers to man one of the many medical stations set up for the Tour de France Grand Départ 2014.
Chris - EMD
Chris works in Yorkshire Ambulance Service’s Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) taking emergency 999 and urgent calls from doctors, so his spot at Buttertubs for the King of the Mountain stages of the Tour will be a breath of fresh air.

Chris said: “I was planning on enjoying the Tour at the trackside on my days off so when the call for volunteers came in it felt like a happy coincidence. The King of the Mountain sections will really showcase Yorkshire’s stunning countryside and I’m really excited to be stationed at both Buttertubs and Holme Moss.”

Chris will be offering first aid to spectators over the weekend and will be lead contact for the section’s radio communications.

Chris added: “This will make a change to my usual role and it will be nice to get out into the local community and enjoy the event alongside everyone else. I’ll be cheering for Mark Cavendish, it would be great to see him in the yellow jersey seeing as he’s passing through his mum’s home town of Harrogate.”

About Medical Stations for the Tour de France Grand Départ 2014
YAS will have medical stations at each of the spectator hubs along the route as well as at additional critical points where spectators are expected to gather.

Please locate your nearest medical station when you arrive to ensure you can find help quickly should you need it.

For more information on how to enjoy the Tour and the wonders of Yorkshire, take a look at our #Staysafe Checklist


YAS volunteer Community First Responder (CFR) Tim steps up for the TourTim - YAS volunteer Community First Responder

Father of two and keen cyclist and runner Tim will be hanging up his sports shoes this weekend to offer his services voluntarily as a Community First Responder for the Tour de France Grand Départ 2014 weekend.

Tim has been a CFR for the past 18 months and volunteers during office hours Monday – Thursday every week in Middleton on the Wolds.

Tim said: “I’d been a first aider for ten years before the opportunity to volunteer for YAS came about and I saw it as a great way of building on my skills and helping my local community. You never know when you or someone you know could need emergency medical help and I wanted to be prepared should anything happen locally.”

Tim is a cycling fan and is looking forward to The Tour, although 12 year-old daughter Evie and nine-year-old son Alfie will be keeping an eye out for him on the TV at home.

Tim added: “I just had to get involved, this was an opportunity that I couldn’t just let pass me by and to play an active role in supporting both the visitors to Yorkshire and keeping our usual service running as normal is a real string to my bow. It feels great to be a part of the bigger operation behind The Tour.”

Cycling runs in the family for Tim, with his dad Michael a keen cycling fundraiser in his earlier years: “Dad cycled from Marble Arch to the Arc de Triomphe when I was younger to raise money for an MRI scanner and the thought of him covering all that distance in five days really inspired me – he was my cycling hero!”

Tim confesses he may miss a lot of the action this weekend but it’s the taking part that counts, he added: “It will be great to be at the forefront of The Tour and to support Yorkshire and its people throughout the event. I might not be on the finish line but I can make sure people get the care they need locally and cheer along the riders as they pass through – it’s a win-win for me!”

About Community First Responders

Community First Responders are volunteers living in local communities across the region who are trained in basic life support, cardio pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and oxygen therapy.

These community-minded locals are equipped with a kit which includes oxygen and an automated external defibrillator (AED) to help patients in a medical emergency such as a heart attack, collapse or breathing difficulties until an ambulance arrives.

Click here to find out more about our CFRs or to join your local scheme.


Bill has front row seat for greatest cycling event on Earth

Bill - HART Clinical Supervisor

Planning has been underway for the Tour de France Grand Départ 2014 at Yorkshire Ambulance Service for the last 18 months, and one person who’s found himself in a front row seat is HART Clinical Supervisor, Bill Clucas.

Bill will be accompanying Tour de France Medical Director Dr Florence Pommerie in the peloton and will the YAS’s contact behind the riders.

Bill spared us five minutes in the run-up to the Grand Départ to answer our questions…

How did you get involved in The Tour?

As a member of HART (Hazardous Area Response Team) and a Clinical Supervisor I have a specific set of skills which include scene management, operational command and communications and I happen to speak a little French – I was delighted to be chosen.

What’s your usual ‘day job’?

I’m a member of HART which means I’m a Paramedic with additional technical skills that allow me to work in difficult environments. These environments can range from the inside of a car after an accident to a large fire or collapsed building.

We work very closely with our partner services such as the police and fire and rescue and as a Clinical Supervisor I often have responsibility for an ambulance response on scene as well as the safety of our patients and staff.

Did you always want to be a Paramedic?

Many years go (in a previous life) I was an astrophysicist but there weren’t many jobs around for my chosen profession so I joined the Merchant Navy instead. After my years at sea I did a bit of travelling in South America and then joined the ambulance service in 2000.

You’re riding in the peloton with Dr Florence Pommerie… how do you feel about your role?

On the one hand I’m excited; it’s a real privilege to be asked (both for me and for YAS) and as a fan I’ll be 50 yards behind the best cyclists on the planet (except Wiggo) in the greatest bike race in the world during a Grand Départ in my home county. On the other hand it is a lot of responsibility to make sure that the wider Trust gets important information from within the race that might impact on the care of our patients. However, I’m part of a team and there has been a lot of work put in behind the scenes to ensure the event runs smoothly and everyone has a great time.

What do your family and friends think of your role in The Tour?

Some of my friends are jealous although there are others who think I’m daft to come in on my day off when I could be enjoying the race from a beer garden! My family are very pleased, especially my mum as she’s French and to be fair, who doesn’t want their mum to be proud of them?

Are you a cycling fan?

Yes, maybe not as intensely as some of my colleagues but I watch Le Tour every year. In fact, this year after the Grand Départ I am following Le Tour around France in my camper.

What do you think the hardest thing about being on the road will be?

I’m six foot two and Dr Pommerie’s car is a small Renault cabriolet… expect to see me with my head stuck out of the back window like a dog!

What are you most looking forward to?

Getting to Tuesday with no injuries, the Grand Départ going well, Yorkshire (and the UK) looking its best and reaching the start of my holiday in France.

Do you have any advice for the people of Yorkshire?

Download our #Staysafe checklist to make sure you’re prepared; only dial 999 in an emergency, allow yourself plenty of time to travel and most importantly, enjoy yourselves responsibly and safely.