A Dacia Duster is coming to the aid of people requiring emergency medical attention following a new partnership between the UK’s most affordable brand and the Windsor Community First Responders.
Dacia has loaned the Windsor branch of Community First Responders a Duster 4×4 for the use of its volunteers in their invaluable work in assisting the Ambulance Service and providing potentially life-saving treatment to those in need of urgent medical assistance.
Trained by the South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust and re-qualified every six months, Windsor Community First Responders provide a rapid response to many 999 calls where an ambulance has been requested by people in their region. The locality of its volunteers means that they can often arrive at an incident before an ambulance and administer essential pre-hospital treatment.
Working on a rota basis and ‘on-call’ 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, Windsor Community First Responders will specifically use the Duster as a Dynamic Response Vehicle (DRV) to assist people who have suffered medical emergencies that include unconsciousness, chest pain, stroke or breathing difficulties. The 4×4 capability of the Duster ensures that the crew can reach patients that are in hard-to-access and remote rural areas, as well as those that have been taken ill in the street, at home or at their work place.
Initially contacted by the Ambulance Service in the event of an emergency, the only incidents where Windsor Community First Responders will not be called to are those that are considered to be unsafe. In many cases, the organisation’s volunteers will stay on-site once the ambulance crew arrive to assist with making the patient stable and ready for transport to hospital.
The Duster’s spacious interior easily accommodates the crew of up to three volunteers and the essential equipment that is needed for callouts, which includes a defibrillator, oxygen, masks, bandages, Entonox and other medical supplies.
Provided in Ambiance specification and featuring a distinctive green and yellow livery, the award-winning Duster 4×4 provides Windsor Community First Responders with a high level of comfort and safety as well as tough, go-anywhere capability. Standard equipment includes ABS and Emergency Brake Assist ESC/ASR (Electronic Stability Control and Traction Control), 4 x 20W FM/AM/DAB tuner with steering-column mounted fingertip controls and Bluetooth, electric front windows, remote central locking, front fog lights and height-adjustable driver’s seat and steering wheel.
Chris Wright, who has been volunteering with the nearby Chalfont Community First Responders for over a year and who organised the partnership, said: “Community First Responders are funded entirely by donations and many volunteers have to use their own vehicles, so to have the Duster as a centrally-based Dynamic Response Vehicle (DRV) is a great help. Dacia was very receptive when I approached them and the Duster is already proving to be an extremely useful and capable vehicle that all of our volunteers enjoy driving.”
Frank Epstein, of the Windsor Community First Responders, added: “Dusty, as we affectionately call the Dacia, has already attended medical calls for patients who have had a variety of illnesses including difficulty in breathing, epileptic fits, burns and poisonings. In recent days Dusty has been ‘on call’ in Windsor, Maidenhead, Slough and Beaconsfield and can be expected to be utilised anywhere in East Berks and South Bucks.
“Many villages in Berkshire were flooded by the river Thames a couple of years ago and the Dacia Duster is an ideal rescue vehicle in such conditions, its 4×4 capability and good ground clearance meaning it will be able to assist other emergency vehicles in poor weather conditions. The Duster is manoeuvrable around the small, cobbled Windsor streets and the petrol engine is quiet and provides good fuel economy for a SUV of its size. The boot has ample space for all our equipment and all in all, is pleasant to drive and very well suited for this type of emergency service activity.”
Louise O’Sullivan, Head of Dacia UK, said: “We’re exceptionally pleased to lend our support to the Windsor Community First Responders. As its volunteers are quickly discovering, the Duster 4×4 is the ideal vehicle for their work as its robust, dependable and go-anywhere nature makes it perfect for attending medical emergencies at locations that a normal car may struggle to negotiate, such as fields, parks, woodland and golf courses.”
Windsor Community First Responders are not the first emergency service to benefit from the rugged Duster. In 2015, Dacia teamed up with St Andrew’s First Aid and loaned the organisation a Duster 4×4 for use at high-profile events across Scotland, the SUV’s dependability making it an invaluable asset to the charity.
The multiple award-winning Duster is the most affordable SUV on the UK market – priced from £9,495. Duster is available in a choice of five trim levels, with customers able to choose from 1.6 SCe 115 and 1.2 TCe 125 petrol engines or the 1.5 dCi diesel engine. All Duster versions are available in 4×2 or 4×4 set-ups.
Since the brand’s launch in the UK in 2013, Dacia has won numerous awards including What Car?’s ‘Best Small Car under £12,000’ for four consecutive years for the Sandero. The brand was recently named fourth best manufacturer, out of the entire car industry of more than 30 brands, in the 2016 Auto Express Driver Power owner survey, marking the third consecutive year that the brand has featured in the top five.
Dacia sold 26,228 vehicles in the UK in 2015, up 10 per cent compared to 2014. Over 78,000 Dacia models have been sold in the UK since its launch in January 2013. More than four million Dacias have been sold since Groupe Renault reintroduced the brand in Europe in 2004.