Skilled RAF Odiham personnel volunteering for the NHS

By Daniel Gee   |   Head of Content   |
Wednesday 27th May 2020 9:14 am
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Cpl Chelsea Arnold and Sgt Richard McCarthy, RAF Odiham Chinook engineers (Photo: Cpl Tim Laurence, RAF Odiham) ()

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RAF ODIHAM personnel are providing vital support to the NHS on the front line of the coronavirus pandemic by volunteering their spare time as co-responders for the South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS).

The co-responder team consists of approximately 20 personnel from RAF Odiham who are medically trained through SCAS and are providing vital front-line support to the NHS through attending 999 calls.

A variety of calls have been attended by the team, including positive coronavirus cases.

RAF Odiham’s co-responders Corporal Chelsea Arnold and Sergeant Richard McCarthy are full-time Chinook engineers who volunteer their time to support the community between operational tours and in addition to their demanding roles in the RAF.

The co-responder team have a variety of roles in the RAF including engineers, logisticians, survival equipment experts and aircrew.

Many of the team are currently deployed as part of Operation Rescript which is the RAF’s support to the UK’s fight against coronavirus.

These personnel have been deployed as full-time support for the South Central Ambulance by providing vital manpower and medical assistance.

The team use two marked cars which enable them to respond to urgent calls under emergency blue-light conditions.

Once allocated to calls, the co-responder team are often the first people on the scene where they may be involved with gathering medical history through to performing CPR before receiving back-up from paramedics.

Chief Technician Phil Hunter, a Chinook engineer at RAF Odiham and co-responder, said: “It’s an extremely rewarding role to be a part of and it can be fascinating at times. You can go from sitting with a cup of tea in the crew room to racing towards a confirmed cardiac arrest in the blink of an eye.”

RAF Odiham’s station commander Group Captain Nick Knight OBE MA said: “I am delighted our co-responder team continues to support the ambulance service during these difficult times.

“I am proud of their efforts and their willingness to play their part in this vital role.”

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