Ambulance crew Our Ambulance Crews consist of Paramedics, and Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) 1 and 2. They respond to a wide variety of calls, but mainly to life-threatening or serious calls. All members of our crews are trained to deal with life-threatening illnesses and injuries. In addition, paramedics are further qualified allowing them to perform invasive procedures on-site, where there is a most serious medical emergency. These include intubation (where a tube is entered into the windpipe to help a patient breathe), cannulation (where a thin tube is inserted into a vein to introduce fluids or drugs as fast as possible) and needle chest decompressions (inserting a needle into the chest to release the build up of air pressure in the lungs). Paramedics are also licensed to dispense and administer some drugs. All of NWAS' ambulances are state of the art mobile intensive care units, carrying medical equipment and machinery, including electrocardiograms (ECGs) and defibrillators. ECGs monitor a patient's heartbeat, and defibrillators are most effective for treating cardiac arrest. All ambulances operate with two staff, comprising of paramedics and technicians. Rapid Response Vehicles (RRVs) are staffed by one qualified paramedic who can administer life saving treatment at the scene. RRVs are able to weave through traffic more quickly than an ambulance and are used across the region to reach patients as soon as possible, until an ambulance arrives if neccessary. High dependency vehicles are ambulances that are designed to transport patients to hospital whose conditions are less serious. Staffed by specially trained high dependency personnel, these vehicles are often used for GP referral appointments. In certain areas of the North West paramedics operate on bicycles. This is called the Cycle Response Unit. The bicycles enable speedy access to patients in pedestrianised urban town centres or at large scale events.