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Air ambulance service 'goes ballistic' with firearms officers

fire training officer 1

4:49pm 16th February 2018

Firearms officers are learning medical skills from the region’s air ambulance medics in a partnership that could mean the difference between life and death for critically injured patients.

Northumbria Police Firearms Support Unit (NPFSU) welcomed a trauma team from the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) at sessions aimed at equipping new firearms police officers with the knowledge to administer initial medical care to casualties on scene.

Phil Dowson, GNAAS doctor, said:

“We have a close working relationship with Northumbria Police as often they’re first on scene at critically ill patients.

“This is about equipping them with the appropriate skills to make sure the basic work is done well in the first few moments after an injury. It could make a crucial difference.”

Chief Inspector of the NPFSU, Simon Hall, said:

“It’s vital that our firearms officers undergo this type of medical training.

“These officers are often first on the scene of incidents where they may have people’s lives in their hands, so it’s imperative they are prepared to deal with all situations and issues that may arise.

“The training has been very beneficial, as it’s good to have that clinical overview from a GNAAS paramedic or a doctor over and above that provided by our instructors.”

During the fourth day of the course, the GNAAS crew set up a range of scenarios for the firearms officers using dummies. These focused on different injuries that a critically injured patient may have, and how to treat them.


Among the injuries they dealt with were abdominal wounds, pelvic fractures, ballistic injuries and catastrophic bleeding.

One of the firearms officers, who wished to remain anonymous, said:

“It’s certainly been a really challenging day, the staff have been informative in putting across the information we need to know and the skills we need to employ when we’re treating casualties.”

GNAAS provided training for six firearms courses last year and have so far been involved in two courses in 2018.

The current students will be taking their final assessments on Friday (FEB 16), which GNAAS will be assisting with.  

GNAAS is funded entirely by donations and last year it needed to raise £5.1 million to survive.

To find out how you can help, please visit here.

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