NARS currently occupies a small premises at Hethersett fire station, which is used as an office, store and meeting room. However, this is a temporary facility and we have identified a pressing need for a larger, multi-functional premises.
Our vision is to build the new NARS training centre at a location which would have good access onto the major trunk routes, to enable good response times to most parts of the county. The training suite would give our senior members the facility to provide cutting-edge training to our paramedics engaged on the Critical Care development programme. This is an essential part of the NARS strategy, to ensure that there will be sufficient Critical Care resource in Norfolk in years to come.
A new building would fulfil a number of needs:
- State of the art training facilities for our responders
- Secure garaging for our response vehicles and support van
- Secure storage for medical equipment, stores, drugs and consumables
- Office and meeting rooms
The biggest single challenge we face with this project, is to find a suitable site on which to build it. We do have some criteria: the site needs to have good road communications. It will not only be a training centre, but an operational base as well. So we need good access onto the major trunk routes, which means that the site really needs to be on the A47 corridor between the A140 and Dereham.
The site needs to be big enough to accommodate the building itself, allow sufficient car parking and have outside space for simulated training exercises.
The search continues!
Creating our visionary new building is not going to be easy. Once we secure a suitable site, we will need the support of key professional businesses to help us with project planning, design and legal processes, such as planning permission.
But even with the generous support of Norfolk businesses, there are still many elements of the build which will be have to paid for, including things like planning applications. So we are going to need money as well as donations of materials and services.
To secure the cash funds we need, we will appeal to the people of Norfolk to contribute to the building fund. We have been assured support from local media to publicise the campaign. The Norfolk Accident Rescue Service has been maintained by public contribution for nearly 50 years and we are confident that the public will get behind this ambitious plan.
NARS – and Norfolk – needs more Critical Care paramedics and doctors trained in pre-hospital medicine. But we cannot simply recruit them; we need to train them.
Critical Care paramedics and doctors trained to Level 2 and 3 bring additional skills, drugs and experience to the scene of the most serious, life-threatening incidents. These are the people who, at the moment of crisis, can make a real difference.
But to train an experienced paramedic to the level of Masters in Pre-Hospital Care takes around 6 years and costs nearly £20,000.
The proposed NARS Training Centre will allow qualified and experienced ‘mentors’ to pass on on vital knowledge to paramedic students, through high-fidelity training exercises, lectures and simulations. The Centre will also be made available as a training resource, to help generate revenue to the benefit of the service.
Over and above its function as a training facility, the Centre will also provide an operational base for the location of response vehicles, secure storage of equipment and drugs and essential office space for administration.
The construction of the new NARS training centre will ultimately benefit large numbers of people in Norfolk. But to achieve the proposed new building, we will need to request the support of dozens of local businesses.
Those that choose to step forward and help – either with services or materials, or a combination of both – will be recognised through digital and printed media. We are also planning to erect a plaque in the new building to acknowledge the contributions made.