Public Order Paramedic Chris Doyle

Public Order Paramedic Chris DoyleI’ve always wanted to be a paramedic. I had to do a job with a purpose. Now I lead medical response teams at London’s special events, like the Olympics or the Queen’s Jubilee.

It’s just not safe to put an ambulance into a mass crowd, so teams face a different set of challenges at events. They travel on foot in groups of three, carrying life support, oxygen and drugs in bespoke back-packs.

Making your way through a crowd of 70,000 on New Year’s Eve to reach someone who’s had a heart attack is a challenge. You’re moving at speed and you may have to travel quite a distance. And it can be hot, dark, or raining. At something like Notting Hill Carnival, you’re on your feet for 12 hours, going from job-to-job. I’m on the ground with my teams, giving them any support they need.

During the London riots in 2011, some of us were away from home for four or five days. You really saw the strength of people’s characters then. We saw some critically unwell people. There was a huge sense of achievement that we’d been able to deliver such a high-quality level of care in such an adverse environment. That’s something we’ll reflect on for a long time.