Award winning medic team first on scene of fire

Tuesday, 06 July, 2010

ST JOHN Ambulance's award-winning team of mountain-biking medics have played a vital part in the rescue of two women at a terrifying fire in South London.

The Cycle Response Unit (CRU) of St John Ambulance London (Prince of Wales's) District was first medical team on scene at the blaze on Clapham High Street yesterday.

Five people in total were rescued from the roof and windows of a burning building in Clapham yesterday afternoon. Firefighters were called to Common Sense health and beauty salon in Clapham Common South Side at 12.50pm. The St John Ambulance team arrived moments later. The fire, the cause of which is still under investigation, was extinguished by 6pm.

The fire ripped through the four-storey building so fast that customers and staff were forced to climb out onto window ledges.Two ladies were treated by members of the CRU team.

Andre Dubois (a medical student) and Natalie Perez (a legal secretary) were both cycling to a community festival nearby, at which St John Ambulance were engaged in providing first aid support. They were cycling past and offered their assistance to the London Fire Brigade.

The cycle team were crowned as winner in the prestigious TfL Smarter Travel Awards just over a week ago. They were announced victorious in the category of 'Most Strategic Use of Cycling in the 999 Workplace'.

The Cycle Response Unit provides emergency first aid that compliments the operational role of St John Ambulance in the communities that it serves across the Capital.

The facility currently has 15 specially equipped mountain bicycles that can carry advanced first aid equipment - including an Automated External Defibrillator and medical gases - and is served by 30 highly trained volunteer operational cyclists who can be seen at high profile and community events including the Virgin London Marathon, Notting Hill Carnival, Brick Lane Mela and Wimbledon tennis tournament, where it is providing first aid as the crowds build up each day.

Ashley Sweetland, who leads operational cycling for St John Ambulance, said: 'I am really proud of the part played in this dramatic rescue by two members of our team at this incident. Andre Dubois and Natalie Perez worked with London Fire Brigade colleagues on the ground to ensure everyone that needed our attention got it, before we handed over the casualties to our colleagues in the London Ambulance Service'

Cycle Response Unit volunteers are highly trained, meeting the National Cycling Standards and undertake the Public Safety Cycling Advanced Training Course, as well having high standards in first aid training.

St John Ambulance London has 4,000 members, with a strong youth contingent meeting at divisions around the capital.

The organisation also delivers first aid training courses for businesses and individuals throughout Greater London.

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