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CEO Blog: Ready to party?

1st March 2018

By Julia Hobbs, Chief Executive, St John Cymru

When you plan a party, you try and prepare for most things.

Cake – check. Balloons – check. Red weather warning for snow – oh, hadn’t thought of that!

Well, it’s hardly surprising as there hasn’t been a severe weather warning like that here in Wales for decades.

So, there I was this morning slightly stumped as to what to do.

It’s St David’s Day and our 100th birthday and instead of bringing everyone together to cut the beautifully decorated cake, I was closing the main St John Cymru office and regional training centres – and sending staff home.

There’s always one room at the heart of the building that continues to beat with activity though – our Incident Coordination Centre (ICC).

With that warning in place, it was time to implement our extreme weather plan, which I’ve written about before. All expertly managed from the ICC – volunteers and 4x4 vehicles are sent where they’re needed.

If you’re wondering, it’s a small-ish room with computers, telephones, and screens to monitor the ever-changing situation. Calls are coming in from each county. Teleconferences are happening. It’s quite an operation. Not the place to be if you don’t like the sound of phones ringing!

Our party plans may have been put on hold but our volunteers made sure essential journeys to hospital, for patients and staff, still happened.

It wasn’t just us that missed out on celebrating. Lots of children woke up to snow and thought ‘great, no school – snow day!’ but then realised they wouldn’t get to dress up as their favourite characters for World Book Day. You can understand the inner turmoil on that one!

So, what happened to that birthday cake?

Well, it didn’t go to waste. It was brought into the ICC and it was cut by our National Operations Officer and paramedic, Mat Hill. Quite fitting really that 100 years on here we are continuing to be there when people need us.

Today was about the official birthday but our centenary celebrations will carry on throughout the year. Maybe I’ll start planning party bags now. Just in case.

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  • 20th November 2017
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Ocean Way,
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