First-aiders gear up for Edinburgh’s Christmas party mayhem

Street pastors getting organised before they hit the streets. Pic: Wullie Marr Photography
Street pastors getting organised before they hit the streets. Pic: Wullie Marr Photography
0
Have your say

YOUNG women passed out in doorways or brawling men bloodied and battered on Capital streets.

All are in a night’s work for the Street Assist First-Aiders who recently treated their 2,000th victim of excess from their West Tollcross base.

Co-founder Neil Logan is gearing up for Christmas party season and the group’s busiest time of the year with a warning to revellers.

“If you’re going for a night out, keep your drinks close, stay with your friends and make sure you’ve got a plan on how to get home,” he said.

The team mark their second anniversary in January having saved the NHS an estimated £1 million in A&E admissions.

Nearly half of the 2,000 helped late at night on the Capital’s streets were found drunk and alone. “That’s a huge amount of people who are vulnerable because vulnerability comes in many different shapes and forms,” said Mr Logan.

“People can get split up from their friends and just be walking the streets. We find them in doorways unconscious.”

Those in need of help are equally split between men and women and mostly young, with 19-24 the most common age group. But the lead up to Christmas can mean older groups heading to pubs and clubs for office parties.

Police and paramedics are bracing themselves for two so-called “Black Fridays” this year – on December 14 and 21 – when revellers converge on the Capital.

“Christmas party season brings into the city a very different demographic,” said Mr Logan. “There are people who don’t normally go into town and get into situations they’ve not been in before.”

Mr Logan said his team have come across young women who had their drinks spiked and young men involved in brawls. One of the most shocking cases saw his colleagues race across Lothian Road to the aid of a young assault victim who was choking on his own blood.

“He’d been punched in the face and his nose was broken. When he’d fallen back he’d hit his head on metal railings.

“The blood from his nose was choking up his airwaves and he was out cold.”

The case highlighted collaboration with emergency services as Street Assist firstaiders treated the man until paramedics arrived while police hunted his attacker.

Mr Logan’s team have been named finalists in the partnerships category of Police Scotland’s national awards in February.

Chief Inspector Helen Harrison said: “We work closely alongside the team of Street Assist volunteers each Friday and Saturday night to help keep people in Edinburgh safe. The support and assistance they provide is of even greater importance at this time of year as Edinburgh sees an influx of people coming to celebrate over the festive period.

“The team work tirelessly to provide a safe environment for people who require their services and we are very grateful for the work that they do.”

The Street Assist team will be out every Friday and Saturday night from 10pm-4am. Anyone needing help can call on 07708 351200.

andy.shipley@edinburghnews.com