" it's the basic model which we bough from Burrows Toyota - they gave us the best deal at the time. We has reversing sesnors added, and had the rear seats removed so we could fit all our kit in." said - Sally Stickland. First Responder Volunteer.
Sally is one of a team of eight volunteer first responders who drive the Land Cruiser. whatever the weather. Working to support the west midlands Ambulance service, their job is to reach patients and offer medical care in this remote rural area - often more quickly than full size NHS ambulances and crew can arrive. The team also use there four-wheel drive to transport patients from difficult-to-access locations to and ambulance or helicopter .
Set up in 1999, Wetton & Alstonfield community first responders are now on their third Land Cruise.
"We bought this one in 2019 and will probably keep it for ten years - as we did the first two" explains 57 year old sally. "it has a patient transport stretcher in the back. - so it's classed as an ambulance, and we didn't have to put VAT on it. Its already done 17,000 miles. Its automatic so we can answer the radio easily while driving. It's easy to drive and responsive when needed. It gets us to where we need to go, weather that along country roads, muddy tracks or through snow and rivers."
"Its four-by-four ability works well in snow - plus there is hill descent control for all our step hills and it has good ground clearance too. I once treated a collapsed patient in the snow until the helicopter arrived. Our nearest hospital is in stoke and that's a 45 minute drive from here - on a good day. " She added.
The Land Cruiser Ambulance is fitted with Dunlop Grandtrek AT20 tyres. It is maintained and paid for entirely by charitable donations. " There are village fundraising events, parties and collections at funerals" Said sally.
The Responders on duty have a direct radio link to the ambulance service dispatchers. When a 999 call is received in their area they are immediately contacted and asked to attend the call provide emergency medical care until the paramedic, ambulance or air ambulance arrives. Calls can range from cardiac arrest, minor injuries, heart attacks, fractures and anything in between.
"we carry a lot of equipment including a defibrillator, oxygen, suction and even a couple of teddies for children.