“Call 999” in an emergency

Call 999 - St John Alderny

Alderney residents in need of an ambulance must call 999 to ensure the quickest response time from St John Alderney Ambulance Service (SJAAS).

On the morning of Saturday 11 July volunteers of SJAAS will be stationed alongside one of the ambulances in Victoria Street to discuss any questions or concerns residents have with calling 999 in an emergency.

Dialing 999 will connect islanders directly to the Joint Emergency Services Control Centre (JESCC) in Guernsey where operators will ensure the relevant emergency service is dispatched as quickly as possible 24/7.

In the past, islanders who required an emergency ambulance have telephoned the Mignot Memorial Hospital. Staff at the hospital would then activate the pagers of SJAAS members on call.

Chairman of SJAAS, Boyd Kelly said:  “The primary role of hospital staff is to provide care for patients and answering emergency telephone calls can distract from this role. It can also mean that life-threatening calls are not prioritised over less critical emergencies and can delay the response time of emergency crews.

Operators at the JESCC prioritise emergency calls to ensure life-threatening cases receive the quickest response possible. They are also specially trained to guide callers through life-saving procedures such as CPR while they wait for the ambulance crew to arrive. SJAAS is committed to attending life threatening calls within a crucial eight minute period and other calls within 15 minutes.

The JESCC, which went live in March, is based at the Guernsey Police Station and was created to improve response times and increase cooperation between the emergency services across the Bailiwick.

“It is habitual for the majority of our younger generation and visitors to call 999 as you would anywhere else in the UK; however, other Alderney residents have been used to calling the Mignot Memorial Hospital directly.  This has now become inefficient and could be a matter of a life saved or a life lost which is why it’s so important that everyone is aware that the safest and quickest reaction in an emergency situation is to call 999.

“The call is picked up by operators of the JESCC who immediately page the SJAAS volunteers on call and are best placed to handle emergency calls quickly and efficiently. The operators are also able to provide life-saving information which can significantly improve survival chances. It then allows the staff of Mignot Memorial Hospital to focus on providing the best care for their patients.

“Our SJAAS volunteers are dedicated to the service and provide a lifeline for islanders. We are very grateful for the support of employers who release them from work to attend casualties and for public donations which keep our vital service going,” he said.

SJAAS is a subsidiary company of the Order of St John within the Commandery of the Bailiwick of Guernsey.  It is the sole provider of ambulance services for Alderney and derives most of its income from subscriptions, donations as well as an annual grant from the States of Alderney.  SJAAS provides a voluntary ambulance and patient transport service which meets the day-to-day needs of the local community.

The service is also supported by St John Ambulance and Rescue Service in Guernsey, which sends staff and volunteers over to the island during shortages.