S.W.A.B. …..Special Wounds And Bandages…

December 20, 2006

I am joining a new unit called SWAB, Special Wounds And Bandages. 


“Its What We Do…”

Its primary mission is to provide specialized back up to Ambulance crews on the ground. Its secondary role is that of A/E admission prevention by being a more proactive cell of the Ambulance Service rather than a reactive one.

SWAB (Special Wounds and Bandages) is a specialized unit in many United Kingdom Ambulance Services, which is trained to perform dangerous operations. These can include dressing head wounds of violent drunks, performing hostage rescue, preventing panic attacks and engaging heavily “chaved” people in conversation. SWAB teams are equipped with specialized kit including heavy duty thermos flasks (for when it’s a bit nippy), portable DVD players (while away the hours on standby), kevlar armoured string vest (cos you never know) and NASA designed combat/medic boots with full-on satellite tracking and built in computer (determines if you are really on scene and not lurking nearby). Also issued are specialized MOE tools (Method Of Entry) usually a half brick for window entry and a sturdy wheelie bin to ram through the front door (if no answer to polite knocking). SWAB teams also have special NVE (Night Vision Equipment)…..a torch.

SWAB duties

Swab duties include:

  • Non-violent treatment of desperate barricaded casualties;
  • Protecting emergency personnel against BB gun snipers;
  • Providing high-ground and perimeter security against BB gun snipers for visiting dignitaries;
  • Providing controlled assault bandaging in certain non-riot situations, i.e., barricaded casualties;
  • Rescuing officers and citizens captured or endangered by Chavs and/or Chavettes; and,
  • Neutralizing local pond scum or estate hoodies.  



SWAB officers are selected from volunteers within their Ambulance Service organization. Depending on the services policy, Officers generally have to serve a minimum tenure within the service before being able to apply for a specialist section such as SWAB. This tenure requirement is based on the fact that SWAB officers are still Ambulance Stretcher Monkeys and must have a thorough knowledge of service policies and procedures.SWAB applicants undergo rigorous selection and training, similar to the training some special operations units in the Salvation Army receive. Applicants must pass stringent physical agility, written, oral, and psychological testing to ensure they are not only fit enough but also psychologically suited for tactical operations. 


Accurate Bandaging Saved This Mans Foot

In addition, applicants must successfully pass a stringent background investigation and job performance review. Emphasis is placed on physical fitness so an officer will be able to withstand the rigors of a twelve hour shift without a break. After an officer has been selected, the potential member must undertake and pass numerous specialist courses that will make him/her a fully qualified SWAB operator. Officers are trained in bandagemanship for the development of accurate bandaging skills, although the use of bandages is considered a last resort in SWAB operations. Other training that could be given to potential members includes training in tea making, sandwich buying, fish and chip price negotiation skills, handling dog units (the Ambulance Service will be getting a K9 unit soon), and groovy discotheque dance moves (for the ladies!) and the use of specialized T.V. remote controls.


Victim of a Chav Attack

I am due to go on a parachuting course this weekend. This will allow myself and other SWAB team members to silently descend upon the outer estates and treat the pondscum and Chavs whilst they are sleeping off the booze or the hit from whatever chemicals they have injected.

Then again I may get the old cheese grater out (my favoured implement of revenge) and cheese grate their finger ends off! I may even use the old superglue on the eyelids trick, always a good one amongst the troops.

I will let you know how it goes and update you all on SWAB team operations! Untill then………….





Books I,ve Read Recently….

December 19, 2006

As you may or may not know I am new to this blogging lark. I am finding it all fascinating and trying not to get too addicted to it. (Mrs. Magic has had words….!)

I just thought I,d let you know, as if you did,nt already, about two brilliant, ney, superb books from bloggers of great distinction. 


The first one is the one I blame for getting me into all this in the first place, and thats “Blood, Sweat & Tea”by Tom Reynolds. For those of you who dont know, “Tom” is an EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) with the LAS (London Ambulance Service). If you want to know what its like on the dark side in the Ambulance Service then this book will tell you. I read it in three days flat (I had to stop now and then to eat, sleep and use the loo and also to go to work).

 It has an easy reading style of matter of fact events and situations that occur in the Ambulance Service but with the thoughts of “Tom” giving his view on things. Everything is covered from the amount of drunk people we deal with to the tragic accidents involving fatalities. The stories all struck a chord with me as thats how it is in the job. A vital part of educating the public is the compulsory reading of this book. 


The second book, which I,ve just finished today, is “Wasting Police Time” by P.C. David Copperfield. Again a cracking read dealing with the unseen world of the British Bobby. Is he a law Enforcer? Or is he a clerk in uniform? This book has really changed my views on the Police. I thought I could get discouraged from time to time in my job, but I could not do theirs.

It is really a treatise on what is happening in this once great land of ours. From all the political correctness to the offenders being looked after more than the victims. I hope that senior police officers and politicians (as I,m sure they have already) read this book and take note of what is happening out there, or in the police stations up and down the country. So long as we still have officers like P.C. Copperfield in the Police Service (as its not a Force), then I at least will feel a little bit safer.

Purpleplus Top Ten…..!!!

December 19, 2006


I thought I would just jot down my Top 10 Best & Worst things about being a Paramedic. These lists are not exhaustive and maybe subject to change at a later date!

Top 10 Best Bits:

  1. On the RRV/RFU I am my own boss out on the road.
  2. I get to see inside other peoples houses. (Clean and respectable)
  3. I meet interesting people from all walks of life. (Clean and respectable, hard working)
  4. The look of relief on peoples faces when I turn up to a scene. (Its what we do)
  5. Every job I get sent to is different in its own way. (Beats working 9 to 5 any day!)
  6. I get to use some pretty cool kit/equipment.
  7. Its still (sometimes) a buzz hitting the “Blues & Twos”.
  8. The money is getting better, at long last!
  9. I get to see things that ordinary members of the public do not.
  10. And sometimes I get to save someone. 


Top 10 Worst Bits.

  1. Control (puzzle palace) know where I am all the time.
  2. I go into some real pigstys and slums. (Wipe your feet on the way out!)
  3. Some people are only just off the bottom of the evolutionary scale. (One up from pond scum!)
  4. The look of dismay on peoples faces when I turn up on scene. (They can tell I,m late off!)
  5. Every job I get sent to involving alcohol has the potential to go “tits up!” (And involves vomit/fights)
  6. Unless the kit/equipment is Ambulance Proof then it invariably breaks down when needed most!
  7. Cars/vans/trucks/buses/people/animals still get in the way even when on “Blues & Twos!”
  8. I dont get paid enough to take some of the abuse/shit that is thrown at me!
  9. I get to see the darker side of humanity. (Ignorance is sometimes still bliss!)
  10. I have seen good people die.

The best and worst job in the World….I would,nt change it for anything!


Chair Bound or Lonely….?

December 18, 2006



A Nice Old Lady 

I was on the RRV last night til the wee hours of the morning. A very quiet shift for me though my oppo on the other RRV was run ragged! Did 2 jobs all shift! Did,nt need to do any interventions i.e. cannulation, defibrillation, intubation or drugs (on the patients, not me).

The first call was to a woman in her 80s who was stuck in her chair! I had visions of a very large lady wedged into a very small chair! Control asked me to go and assess and to call up for a crew if needed. Fair enough, off I went in search of the address which I found with my Sat Nav system. Knocked on the door and opened it and called out..”Hello, Ambulance service, anybody there?”

A voice called out from the living room. I opened the door to the living room and saw the lady sat in her chair. She must of been in a bad way….she was watching cricket on the telly!!! I asked her if she was okay and she said that she could not get out of her chair. She had no pains or acute conditions and did not want to go to hospital. She just wanted to go to the toilet…..oh joy!

I moved her zimmer frame closer to her, and moved the telephone from off her knees back to the other side of the room where it belonged! (bells start to ring in my cynical mind!). With a heave and and a pull I manage to get her standing on her own two feet and guide her towards the toilet. I wait outside to make sure that she gets back to her living room safely. After about 5 minutes, while I scan a cursory look at the photos on the wall, she comes out of the bathroom.

Its then that I ask where she wants to go now to which she replies “The living room please back in my chair.” I ask if she is sure as it is nearly one in the morning and the heating has gone off. Yep, shes sure. So I guide her back to her chair and surround her with the remote controls, medications, T.V. papers, biscuits and fetch her a fresh glass of water. All the time I am doing this I am thinking that she is going to ask me to clean her windows or paint her fence shortly!

With my last instruction/request carried out…the nice fluffy blanket for her legs, I bid my farewell. She was a nice enough lady, living on her own, fiercely independent and pleasant in her manner but I really do think she is pushing it by living in her chair. She must have got up to get the phone to ring for us so it might be that she just wants to see and talk to someone. A sad state of affairs in this day and age. Time spent on scene approx. 25 mins. At least she saw someone even if it was only me!       

Fat Chris is Dead……!!!

December 16, 2006

Shocked, horror struck and not a little bit taken aback with amazement……Fat Chris is dead! 


It has been reported that the death of Santa has been covered up for the past 6 years to prevent world wide panic.

  • Conspiracy theorists lay the blame at the door of the G8 Nations.
  • The U.K. Conservative Party lay the blame on the Labour Government.
  • The anti-establishment brigade lay the blame at the feet of the Police.

Inside knowledge gleaned from the man down at the pub who knows the cousin of the butcher who lives next door to the paperboy who delivers the morning Sun in the same street as the cleaner who works at the local library where she overheard two people talking, shows that Santa possibly died from passive smoking with all the chimneys he had to go down.

House of Horrors….

December 16, 2006

Reading someones blog the other day reminded me of a job that I went to some years ago. It was a sad job but not entirely unexpected. With all due respect to the anonymous participants of this tale I dedicate this telling……………….. 


The House Of a Thousand Limbs…

We were part way through our shift and looking forward to going home to our warm homes, warm beds and warm wives. The night shift had been the usual concoction of minor illnesses and ailments with the occcasional sprinkling of drink related details such as the “assault with a bar stool” and the “put arm through plate glass window” scenarios.

With not more than two hours left of the cold, dark night shift left we felt that we were on the home run. It had been “Q” for nearly an hour and it was fast approaching 5a.m. Nearly there! Soon be home! Can,t wait! Yes!

“No!!!”What the bleedin’ hell was that?” Awoken from a near trance like slumber, I was dragged back into the dark world of ambulance station alerters sounding their shrill, insistent cry of a squawking seagull having its head ripped off! We made our way to the vehicle and looked at the detail on the data terminal…”Male unco. ?conscious, ?breathing, possible sudden death, police informed.”

With the vehicle windows wound down to help us wake up a bit more from our temporary slumber, we made our way on blues to the other side of the town. The area we were going to was on the outskirts next to a winding river which was giving off an ethereal mist. (Think of The Fog by James Herbert, its easier.) We located the address pretty quickly and pulled up outside in front of an imposing Victorian house. The upstairs light was on and we could just make out a dim orange light through the stained glass window of the front door.

“Hello! Anyone there! Ambulance Service!”I called out as we levered the large front door open, its hinges creaking as we did so. No answer. Very quiet. Too quiet. I was confident in my approach down the darkened hallway which was lit in a strange orange, subdued light of some kind. My crewmate was right behind me…..was! Turning round to ask him what he thought of the situation I found that he had disappeared! “You %*&$ !” I thought!

Starting to question my confidence a little I made my way back to the door to locate my lost compadre. No sooner had I  reached the front door when a grotesque face appeared at the stained glass window, its shadowy features contorted in anguish and suffering! Its mouth, drooling wide open and its nostrils flared like that of a rabid dog! My heart was now in my mouth and about to go into ventricular fibrillation! My trousers were nearly full of brown adrenaline! And my eyes were finding problems trying to relocate their sockets!

“Whats up with thee?”My crewmate said, trying to stifle his laughter as he lowered the torch from his face. I was just about to explain myself to him via a size nine magnum boot to his shins when a voice called to us from upstairs. “Hello? Can you come upstairs please”? We made our way to the bottom of the stairs and stopped suddenly when we were confronted by a spectacle of unimaginable horror. The stairway wascovered in body parts with various arms and legs pinned to the dimly lit walls! Traces of what looked like blood, was smeared around the ragged edges of the cut limbs! 


Then a figure appeared at the top of the stairs….a woman, silhouetted by the landing light, called down to us again. “Up here if you please gentlemen.” As if hypnotised, we slowly made our way up the stairs towards the beckoning woman. Her features come into view as we approach her and she looks pale, drawn and with great sadness in her eyes. She reminds me of someone from an old black & white movie but I cant think who.


I cannot speak, as I am still trying to make sense of the macabre scene behind us on the stairs and in front of us on the landing where even more body parts are strewn around. Torsos of every shape and size lay either on the floor or are propped up sagging against the wall! The woman then gently takes my arm and softly speaks, “Hes in the bedroom,” as she leads me past the bodies and towards the half open bedroom door, “I think he’s gone!”

Once through the door I see straight away the person that we have been called to. He is dead. No doubt about it. “Rigor mortis” has started to set in and the “post mortum staining” is clearly evident. I turn to the woman and say “I am sorry, you are right, he has gone.” With this she takes a deep inward sigh and quietly sobs. I still feel apprehensive about the situation, my sleep addled brain trying to make sense of what my eyes are telling me.

“Ey up love!” My crew mate breaks the silence, “Wha’s wi’ all deed uns?” Ever the diplomat he points all around to the various dismembered bodies. “Oh those!”she says with a hint of knowing mischievousness, “I,m a sculptor, I design and make mannekins for museums and displays.”A big audible sigh of relief from two very worried and tired crewmates. “I should have told your colleagues to warn you but I forgot.”

The deceased person was the womans husband and he had been ill for some time. We were able to soften the blow of her husbands demise by reassuring her that he had died peacefully in his sleep and had not suffered. But what a strange setting in which to go.

My crewmate reminds me that the police have not arrived yet. He wants to hide behind the front room door and leap out with torch lit faces at them! I remind him that they are the Police and as such will probably have faster reactions and reflexes than us. Also they have batons and CS gas. And if they are as tired as us, no sense of humour.

We hand over to the police when they arrive and say our farewell to the woman. I am bushed, tired, knackered and the adrenaline has stopped, giving way to a desire to just get home and sleep. We are on double time now as we have finished our shift late. And my nerves are frayed with my imagination running riot and working double time at the House of Horrors!


And Another Thing…..!!!

December 14, 2006


Whilst I,ve got my Victor Meldrew head on, what is it with the blister packs in Strepsils?

When I have a sore throat, or a tickly cough “ah hem!”, in the middle of the night, I dont expect to wake up Mrs. Magic and half the street when I open up a pack of strepsils! I mean you could you use the blister pack as a bird scarer on airport runways its that LOUD!

Imagine if you will….tis the wee hours of the night, a light frost is forming on the already dew laden flowers in the garden. The night is still…cept for the soft fluttering of an owls wings as it searches for its prey. All is well, all is quiet. The moon gazes down upon the earth with its beacon of light casting shadows amongst the undergrowth. Nothing stirs, nothing moves….then “CRRRRAAAACCCCKKKKLLLLEEEEZZZZZ!!!!!!”.

Small hibernating animals two fields away scurry to find a safer place, dogs begin to howl the terrible song of the banshee, cats wail their screeching chorus of defiance, hundreds of lights flick on within the neighbourhood, windows are unlatched noisely as sleep sodden eyes peer into the night in desparate search of the miscreant who has dared to cast asunder the silence of the dark!

Meanwhile back in my house, I have to fetch the ladders so that I can get Mrs. Magic off the ceiling! My sore throat usually disappears but I think this is mainly due to the severe head injury inflicted upon my person by Mrs. Magic with a rolled up copy of the Ambulance Service U.K. magazine.