St John Ambulance Cymru are Wales’ leading first aid charity. They work to save lives and enhance the health and wellbeing of welsh communities, whilst teaching others the skills they need to do the same.
They provide first aid treatment, transport and training to adults and children alike, alongside running youth programmes and vital frontline services; which include emergency response and attending to vulnerable people who have fallen in their homes. The charity has a large fleet of ambulances and works with the ambulance service, local health boards and NHS to provide this frontline work and patient transport services.
With the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, St John Ambulance Cymru found the operation of their ambulance services was facing new challenges. The fleet saw an increased demand for its service, but without being able to add vehicles, the demand to turn around vehicles between jobs increased. This was slowed down by the need to deep clean every vehicle between every patient journey to meet COVID-secure requirements, ensure patient and crew safety and maintain frontline response. The team set up regional ambulance hubs in eight communities to enable this to happen more locally than before, but still needed to find a way to deep clean the ambulances more quickly and effectively to safeguard hygiene, while still responding to emergency calls as quickly as possible.
Enter Kärcher, the world’s number one pressure washer brand and expert in cleaning equipment and techniques. When the team heard about the difficulties being faced by St John Ambulance Cymru, it was quickly established that Kärcher could easily solve the problem. Eight HD 6/13 C pressure washers were provided, with no hire charge, to ensure the fastest turnaround possible for each vehicle in service. The machines were distributed to the St John Ambulance Cymru COVID-19 emergency hubs in the heart of numerous Welsh towns and cities.
Prior to the arrival of the Karcher pressure washers, the time taken to clean an individual ambulance was 30-40 minutes every time. With the Karcher pressure washers in use, this time has been cut to only 10 minutes per ambulance. Considering that each ambulance requires cleaning after every individual call out, this is an enormous time saving for a vital resource that impacts lives. In the Cardiff hub alone, the charity runs 15 vehicles which are cleaned every day, this is a cumulative time saving of at least 450 minutes – that’s 7.5 hours per day – and that’s for a single wash per ambulance only, but they could be going out multiple times.
St John Ambulance Cymru, Service Delivery Manager, Ashley Jones said: “We’re extremely grateful to Kärcher for their generous loan to help our vital cleaning facilities across Wales. Our staff and volunteers continue to use the units to help speed up the cleaning process of our ambulances, and efficiently deep clean each vehicle in between patients. Kärcher’s generosity has allowed us to get our teams back on the road quicker so we can reach more people and continue to be there for people in Wales when they need it most.”
Terry Davies, Regional Sales Manager – West Professional Sales Department, at Kärcher UK explained, “Kärcher was approached by St John Ambulance Cymru and asked if we could support their cleaning needs across eight regional ambulance and emergency response hubs in Wales during the pandemic. We discussed their needs and options to quickly decontaminate and turn around ambulances after transporting COVID-19 patients. The pressure washer units were delivered on site within 3 working days to eight very happy hub teams.”
As the COVID-19 crisis rolls on, the Kärcher pressure washers will continue to be used by St John Ambulance Cymru for as long as they are required, ensuring that the team can support the local community through these turbulent times with no reduction in service and no time wasted.