Dedicated Fife first aiders who have helped save hundreds of lives

Alex MacDonald and Polly Craig at the equestrian show
Alex MacDonald and Polly Craig at the equestrian show

From prominent motor racing events to gala days, student balls to rugby matches there’s a charity which is out in all weathers providing emergency first aid cover to the public.

It’s called Burntisland First Aid Services Trust and last year it covered more than 200 events around Fife and further afield – yet it is still not well known.

Polly and Alex with their current ambulance

Polly and Alex with their current ambulance

It was set up in 2004 by a group of people who were involved in other first aid organisations, who believed they could provide a better service for their clients.

It started with eight people and now has around 30, with some members attending more events than others.

Every member is trained to a basic standard of first aid, but most have gone on to develop their skills a lot further, while others learn from their peers, and all must update their knowledge every three years to ensure they keep up with the latest developments in first aid procedures.

I caught up with Alex MacDonald, chairman of the trust and Polly Craig, a member for around three years, at the Puddledub Spring show at Highfield Equestrian at Howe in Giffordtown on Monday, where they were providing cover over the bank holiday weekend.

Alex has been involved in first aiding from the age of 12

Alex has been involved in first aiding from the age of 12

Alex was on his fourth stint of the weekend, having been there both Saturday and Sunday as well as attending a student ball in St Andrews, while Polly, a qualified nurse, was there providing cover for the day.

“This is what’s known as a low risk event, so there are just the two of us here, but if it was a higher risk event like some of the motor racing they have at Knockhill, then there would be more of us,” explained Alex, a veteran first aider who has been involved since he became a cadet at the age of just 12.

“We have a very full appointments book and we are out most weekends at events around the country. As well as covering many in Fife we have been up to Aberdeen, across to Kilmarnock and everywhere in between, so it is quite a commitment, but it’s also very rewarding.

“Most of our members will cover at least one event a month, although I usually do between 70 and 80 over the course of a year.

Members of the Trust at a motorbike convention

Members of the Trust at a motorbike convention

“We deal with everything from injuries from serious crashes to cardiac arrests and bruises and bumps – we never know what is coming next.

“Our training is intended to give people the skills to manage an incident for at least 45 minutes, but realistically it can be two or three hours.”

Burntisland First Aid Services Trust relies on its own fundraising to cover its costs of transport, running and maintaining its ambulance and the first aid supplies.

It doesn’t charge for manpower, although it does ask for donations to cover the cost of supplies and travel. It also runs first aid courses for businesses and organisations at competitive prices.

Attending to a quad bike casualty in Cardenden

Attending to a quad bike casualty in Cardenden