New SARS paramedic uses his own car as a rapid response vehicle

Rob Riches is a new volunteer paramedic for the Suffolk Accident and Rescue Service (SARS)

Rob Riches is a new volunteer paramedic for the Suffolk Accident and Rescue Service (SARS) - Credit: Archant

Suffolk Accident Rescue Service’s (SARS) new volunteer critical care paramedic is qualified to work solo - so has set up his own car as a rapid response vehicle.

Rob Riches, 33, from Ipswich, is the newest paramedic to join the charity-funded organisation which is often the first to arrive on the scene of a serious accident.

Rob joined the East Anglian Air Ambulance (EAAA) team two years ago and trained to work on his own, a qualification that has been hugely valuable in his volunteer work with SARS.

“I am now able to respond from home,” he said, “I have blue lights on my own car and it is kit out with equipment I need.

“95% of what the regular ambulance service deal with are not critical.

“SARS caters for a smaller proportion of serious incidents but that proportion needs advanced specialism.”

As a critical care paramedic Rob is qualified to undertake procedures ambulance crews cannot, such as administering certain drugs and antibiotics and performing surgical procedures.

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Rob, who has an 18-month-old baby daughter, said he has to fit his volunteering in with his busy work and home life.

He said: “My paid work commitments are quite significant and I have a young family as well but I would like to do two or three over nights a week when my daughter has gone to bed.”

Rob said he sees the role of SARS as ‘essential’.

“It is critical really,” he said, “without it there would be patients who wouldn’t have survived or would have suffered without the treatment and care SARS provide.

“We try and bring some of the hospital care to the roadside, that’s the idea.

“The things you see can be upsetting but you have to remember we are trained and it is less shocking when you are mentally prepared.

“We are specialists in that type of work for us it’s bread and butter.

“You thrive in turning up in chaos and sorting it all out and improving people’s care.”

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