Keep up to date with the Arran Resilience Program on their dedicated website using this link:
What was the issue that made you start up this project?
We have over 120 emergency responders on Arran. As well as the fire, ambulance and police services, we have mountain rescue, coastguard, lifeboat and first responder teams, plus our community hospital and GPs who are BASICS trained in pre-hospital care.
However, there was no central liaison mechanism for these teams to share training opportunities, raise common issues and develop integrated emergency plans for major or multiple incidents. This included integrated planning for winter weather.
Who was involved and what did they do?
All team leaders met in October 2010 and agreed that it would be useful to have a forum for future planning, and an email list was created so that information could be distributed to all teams very quickly. In addition we set up some joint training workshops, and compiled a handbook detailing the skills, equipment, contact details and training requirements of every team.
Our website provides full details of all the outcomes of the project to date.
What worked well about the project?
There has been increased awareness of the capabilities (and limitations) of each team. Gaps or weaknesses have been identified, and work is ongoing to improve communication and training. The project costs to date have been minimal. There is a lot of dedication and commitment from all the teams, and Arran Resilience has simply harnessed what is already there, with a bit more co-ordination.
What did you learn during this project?
It can take just a little initiative and co-ordination to bring teams together effectively. There is a common purpose among emergency teams, which is to enhance the quality of casualty care, alongside each team's individual specialist skills.
One of the most useful outcomes has been the Resilience Handbook, which details the capabilities of each team. This is very useful information when considering the need for additional vehicles, shelter, provisions, communication, medical equipment and manpower.
What was it that made it work - what were the critical success factors?
Ownership of Arran Resilience remains local, although we have enjoyed excellent support from mainland agencies. We didn't seek to change existing procedures - just increase awareness of the capabilities of each team. We made it clearer and easier to contact team leaders, and provide training that will continuously enhance the level of casualty care proficiency.
We have a sustainability plan in place, and it has been easier to develop an updated major incident plan for the island.
We believe that Arran Resilience is a new model of integrated rural emergency care that is transferable to other communities.