Around 20 personnel from across the Station, which have been medically trained by the South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS), are providing vital support to the NHS frontline by responding to 999 calls. Numerous calls have been attended by the team during the lockdown period, including recent positive coronavirus cases.
The RAF Benson Co-Responder team have a variety of roles in the Royal Air Force including engineers, logisticians, police and aircrew. Many of the team are currently deployed as part of Operation RESCRIPT, helping to provide the military’s support to the UK’s coronavirus response, and others complete shifts around their demanding roles in the Royal Air Force.
Chief Technician Neil Gunn, Sergeant Sam Smith, Sergeant James Baker, Corporal Darren Goodger (based at RAF Brize Norton) and Senior Aircraftman (Technician) Alex Zimmerman have been deployed as full-time support for the South Central Ambulance Service by providing vital manpower and medical assistance for front line ambulances and Patient Transfer Service vehicles.
I’m without doubt part of the wider team, not just someone on the periphery, especially when providing life-saving care to those in need. I’m privileged to be a part of SCAS.
- Corporal Darren Goodger
Aircraft technician and co-responder
The team also use two marked cars which enable them to respond to urgent calls under emergency blue-light conditions. Once allocated to calls, the Co-Responder team are often the first medical personnel on the scene, where they may be involved with basic tasks such as gathering medical history through to performing emergency CPR prior to the NHS paramedics arriving.
Group Captain Adam Wardrope DFC, Station Commander of RAF Benson, said: “RAF Benson is at the heart of the aviation support to the UK’s response to coronavirus and it’s fitting that we are also at the heart of the support to our own local community on the ground. Our Co-Responders volunteer their time to help our NHS colleagues to save lives, while also completing their own busy day jobs for the RAF. Having been a Co-Responder myself, I know how hard they’re working and the contribution they are making. I’m really proud of them all.”