Monday, 8 August 2011

EMMU rescue celebrates 30th anniversary

The Morecambe-based Emergency Mobile Medical Unit (EMMU) celebrate their thirtieth anniversary this year.

EMMU was formed by Stuart Westbrook who persuaded colleagues from the Royal Lancaster Infirmary to give up some of their spare time to make sport safer by attending events such as car rallies and power boat meetings.

When the unit started medical cover at these potentially dangerous events was generally limited to basic first aid and it took some convincing to persuade event organisers to let them attend. However, EMMU quickly gained a reputation for providing a vital highly professional skilled service and within a year of being formed it had 40 members and was providing emergency medical cover at events all over the country.

"When I first started the unit I had no idea that it would grow so quickly but thanks to the volunteers we soon became known for enhancing the safety at dangerous sporting events and that reputation has continued to grow." said Westbrook.

One of the current EMMU team is Rachel Medich who has been part of the unit for six years. Even though she has recently moved to Aberdeen she still attends events with the team.

"I competed on events for several years and had not really thought about the medical cover on events. I then got a job at the Infirmary and chanced upon a poster advertising EMMU and a training weekend they were holding."

"The training was brilliant and I joined the unit as a trainee. For three years I attended events in a trainee capacity and learned about everything required to safely extract a casualty from a vehicle and immobilise them to prevent further injury. I then passed an assessment which meant I could be a fully licensed Motor Sport Association rescuer."

"I did not realise how much thought and preparation goes into every rescue. Each one is different and the circumstances of the rescue can be very difficult, for example a rally car crashed upside down in a remote forest."

"I absolutely love attending the events and being part of what is a very professional and well respected team, they’re like a big family to me."

Thirty years after its inception Westbrook still leads the EMMU team, although he has now retired from working at the Infirmary.

"The EMMU work is completely different from the job I did at the hospital. The events are often located in very remote locations so we have to be prepared to deal with all kinds of incidents on the spot."

"I feel very privileged to have had support from various local business over the years, including our present supporters Angus Fire, Macadam Garages, TEG Sport, Blaklader, Holmatro and North West Tyres. Without their assistance and that of the volunteers who give up their free time to attend events and training there would be no rescue unit so I am very grateful for the support we receive. Hopefully the unit will continue for many years to come."

Please visit for further information on EMMU or contact Stuart Westbrook on 01524 422896 or 07831 395221.