We really appreciate you taking the time to consider volunteering for us. All of our volunteers lead busy lives and we cannot thank them enough for donating their time and essential medical skills to help us continue saving lives in their communities.

We have pre-empted some of the questions you may have about volunteering with us. The answers will hopefully allow you to make an initial informed decision about whether you’d like to investigate the role further. We hope that you do.



What is a Sandpiper BASICS responder?

A Sandpiper BASICS responder is a rural registered health care professional such as a nurse, doctor or paramedic. They have all received additional pre-hospital emergency training from BASICS Scotland after which they can apply for additional equipment provided by The Sandpiper Trust.

This equipment includes:

  • A Sandpiper Bag
  • A Defibrillator
  • A Vehicle Locating System (aVLS) or smart phone
  • Additional equipment including EZ-IO drills and needles, pulse oximeters, Combat Application Tourniquets, Nasal Pharyngeal Airways, SAM splints etc.

Our responders are an extension of the Scottish Ambulance Service. When a high priority 999 call comes in, SAS dispatch centres locate our responders via their aVLS or smart phone and direct them to the place of need before an ambulance can arrive. They are often first on scene, providing lifesaving medical care until the paramedics arrive.


Why should I sign up?

There are a number of reasons why individuals want to offer Sandpiper BASICS prehospital care. Quite simply, if you are interested in maintaining & developing your prehospital care skills and want to make these available to your local community, we’re keen to hear from you.


How are responders selected?

In the most part, this really comes down to the responder’s location as we need to ensure the right level of coverage across the country. In conjunction with the ambulance service, regional coordinators work on behalf of BASICS Scotland to identify geographical areas of need. Responders are then allocated to these locations. With the whole of Scotland to cover, we are always keen to speak to medical professionals with an interest in volunteering, especially if they are based in rural and remote areas.


How is training conducted?

For the most part training takes place at BASICS head office in Auchterarder, Perthshire. However, some of our responders are based in the most rural and remote areas and are simply unable to attend our training courses in person. In this case, training can be conducted remotely, or via our training pods which are delivered to them.


What commitment do I need to give?

Being a responder does not involve a rota. As one of our responders, the ambulance service can request your assistance at any time, but there is no official obligation to attend as they realise that occasionally it might not be possible to provide assistance due to personal or work related reasons. If unable to attend, responders are advised to tell them succinctly to allow them to quickly find another nearby resource.

There is no minimum commitment required to become a tracked responder. It is a voluntary role, and we all have busy lives – such as work commitments, family, holidays and precious time off. This is the advantage of being able to sign on and sign off. In more remote areas, if an incident is particularly serious, ambulance control may try you even if marked unavailable. This should be an infrequent occurrence.

To add some context to this, our responders are only called out to high priority 999 emergencies. On average this equates to 4 calls each, every year.


How do I make myself available?

Your regional coordinator will discuss the most appropriate method of making yourself contactable.

Once your details are with ambulance control, they will see whether you’re available right at the time of handling the 999 call. In general, they prefer to use mobile phone contact, although a back-up alternative such as home/work phone and/or pager too is useful.

There are a limited number of AIRWAVE radio units available to our responders. These are allocated to those responders located in areas where mobile signal is poor and who are likely to be called out more often. There is a mandatory six-hour training session, however the benefits in providing a direct link with ambulance control can prove extremely valuable.

Responders can be tracked or fixed resources. A number of devices exist to make this possible, and options will be discussed with regional coordinators. It’s useful to know what times you are likely to be available, and what size of area you cover, in order to decide on which tracking option will be easiest for you.


Are there any restrictions?

If you are a medical professional living in Scotland, are able to drive, have access to a car and are physically fit then you meet the required criteria.


How do I apply?

For further information or to apply please email responders@sandpipertrust.org. Additional details can also be found on the BASICS website.

Thanks again for taking the time to consider volunteering with us.