Steve is volunteering for the community

Steve Rose, Commissioning Manager for Dogger Bank Wind Farm, has been volunteering as a first responder in his local community for nearly three years. During the coronavirus outbreak Steve is volunteering with Norfolk Accident Rescue Service on a weekly basis. Here he describes how SSER is supporting him balance his job with volunteering on the frontline.

Currently I am part of the team working on the development and construction of the world’s largest offshore wind farm, Dogger Bank. The project is a joint venture is between SSE Renewables, who are responsible for the construction, and Equinor, who will operate the wind farm once it’s built.

I’ve been working with SSE Renewables in offshore wind for over ten years off and on and have been in the energy sector for over 30 years. Health and safety within our industry is the absolute number one priority, whether you’re working on an offshore wind farm or in an office, so for over twenty years I’ve been a trained first aider.

Thankfully I have never had to use those skills in my day-to-day job, but at one of my first aid refresher courses I got talking to the instructor who mentioned the local ambulance were looking for volunteer first responders.

Soon after I volunteered to be a Community First Responder, volunteers trained by local Ambulance Service Trusts to attend certain emergency calls where we live and work.

I’ve been volunteering with them for a number of years now in my local community on the coast of Norfolk. Last year alone I was on duty for over a thousand hours and attended over 150 emergency calls.

Our aim is to reach potentially life-threatening emergencies in the vital first minutes before an ambulance crew arrives. In an emergency every minute counts and in some rural areas, like my community, it can take ambulances up to 15 minutes to attend an emergency, so we are there to help stabilise the patient and provide appropriate care until the more skilled ambulance crews arrive. 

I’ve been using my training as a Community First Responder to also volunteer hours with local charity the Norfolk Accident Rescue Service (NARS). They have several rapid response vehicles crewed by a variety of critical care paramedics and first responders who are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to be dispatched by the ambulance control room.

During the pandemic I’m volunteering additional hours via NARS to the local ambulance service where I work in one of the response cars.

Just like at SSE Renewables, the safety of the first responders is paramount at all times and we are adhering to government guidance to ensure we keep ourselves and any potential patients as safe as possible through the use of PPE, frequent handwashing and social distancing where possible.

Normally I would work these volunteer hours around my regular job, but SSE Renewables is allowing me to volunteer my hours when required, helping me to be part of my local community’s efforts to deal with emergencies, related to the virus or otherwise, as quickly and as flexibly as possible. In some ways the coronavirus outbreak has brought out the best in people and businesses.

It’s incredibly rewarding to know we have helped people in their extreme time of need, even though it can also be incredibly hard. I tend to concentrate on the positives rather than what could have happened but sadly we haven’t been able to save everybody.  

All the members of NARS are volunteers and we offer our services free of charge.  The organisation is funded solely by donation – we receive no government or health service funding.  If anybody would like to make a donation they can be made at www.nars.org.uk