Following the devastating Ebola outbreak, all UK ambulance services were asked to train the military in how to handle potentially infected patients in October, prior to some of their medical regiments deploying to Sierra Leone.
Suitably qualified paramedics and trainers from across the UK gathered in North Yorkshire to teach the troops – among them NEAS’s Emergency Planning and Resilience Officer Tracy Scott.
“We were training 22 Field Hospital Regiment how to don and doff personal protective equipment (PPE) safely before live deployment to Sierra Leone where they will be treating active Ebola patients so it was vital we got it right!” said Tracy.
“At Strenshal Barracks, ten large tents where set out as they would be for clean and dirty procedures for staff to have a realistic idea of what the set up would be when deployed live.
“Trainers where split into teams of two and often worked alongside military trainers for a consistent approach across the two days.
“Once the microbiologists who work with viruses like Ebola in laboratories on behalf of the Government had demonstrated the correct procedure, we concentrated on donning the PPE correctly ourselves.”
The team trained 160 squaddies in all, with students including Army doctors, nurses and even two ambulance drivers who were eager to keep themselves safe.
Tracy added: “Back at the barracks, they had set up a field hospital the way it would be once deployed so staff could familiarise themselves with the lay-out.
“Light blue bedding was for tested but unconfirmed Ebola patients, with red bedding for those who had been confirmed as being infected - both segregated into different sides of the hospital.
“The National Ambulance Resilience Unit (NARU) has been thanked by the MoD for the quality of training delivered and we all may be asked to train the next deployment due out.”