Winter first aid warning

St John Ambulance staff and volunteers in Derbyshire are busy making preparations to support the emergency services should the county be hit by snow and freezing temperatures again this winter.

Last year, heavy snow fell across the region leading to a greater demand for the service provided by the NHS.

St John Ambulance staff and volunteers supported the ambulance service with 4x4 ambulances enabling them to reach patients in remote areas and provide immediate emergency care and transport to hospital where needed. This year the team is on standby to once again provide support.

The charity is also encouraging the public to equip themselves with some basic first aid knowledge to help them treat some of the more minor injuries at home or at least assist someone whilst an ambulance is on the way.

St John Ambulance has also announced that its first aid iPhone app is free to download in time for winter. Launched last year, the ‘St John Ambulance First Aid’ app became an instant success and was the UK’s best selling health and fitness app. It has now been downloaded by more than 63,000 people – and the charity has learnt that it has already saved a life, when a mother got in touch to say she was able to give first aid to her choking baby, thanks to the app. As winter approaches, the app gives useful advice on how to deal with effects of the cold, such as hypothermia and frostbite. It also demonstrates how to cope with emergencies such as choking or heart attacks.

“St John Ambulance is a vital part of the nation’s emergency response system,” said Clive Dennis, Derbyshire’s commissioner operations, “whether it’s to reduce the strain on the ambulance service or respond to an individual medical emergency, our volunteers and staff are on hand. In times of crisis, emergency first aid support from St John Ambulance is the difference between lives lost and lives saved.

“Last year, we were out in 4x4s aiding and rescuing the vulnerable and the stranded. Fortunately, we have an action plan in place for these kinds of emergencies and this year will be no different.’

St John Ambulance in Derbyshire has over 1,500 volunteers who last year gave 29,755 hours of their time to providing first aid cover at events – as well as a similar amount in supporting the NHS. Many of those volunteers also spent time training members of the public in first aid.

First aid advice can be downloaded by members of the public via St John Ambulance’s iPhone application available free from iTunes. For more information about first aid advice or courses please call 08700 10 49 50 or visit