Charlie
Post by On 12 July 2014

Are you 24-7 in disguise?

There was a bit of controversy recently about a safety leaflet which included advice not to walk alone in San Antonio.

 

The local authorities here reacted angrily as they didn't want it to affect tourism and the perception of San Antonio, afraid people may be put off if there was such a warning.

Now whether San Antonio is a safe place or not can be left up to those who visit here to decide - it has its dangers like any other place - but what I do know is that there are some new people here who are making the West End a much safer place this season. Please step up, Emergency Staff.

Up until now 24-7 have been the only service in the West End that is available to respond to bars and clubs needing assistance with lost, intoxicated or injured customers whose night has taken a turn for the worst. We have found ourselves in situations with countless casualties strewn over the West End, wondering whether the calls would end, not knowing how on earth we were going to get each of these people back to safety. Countless numbers of our team members have found themselves sitting with someone for 2 or 3 hours, trying to get the name of a hotel - or even just a name - from someone slumped over in their own vomit. Years of volunteers have walked these streets, sweat pouring from every pore, lifting, pushing, getting face fulls of armpit hair as they sling peoples arms around their shoulders, taking small step by small step to the promised land of their hotel.  Hundreds have brought hope to a place that can seem without it at times, peace when things get a bit lively and a bit of laughter when people just need a good giggle at how the night has turned out.

So it was with a big smile that I approached the medical tent in the middle of the night, to see the two emergency staff personnel completely surrounded by various sleeping, drunk, drugged and injured people. There were people strewn everywhere, it looked like the whole of the West End had arrived at once! But my smile was not the fact that they were making the our nights less manic - although they are certainly are - and it was not the fact that it mean't that we didn't have to deal with some of the situations - we are just as involved as we ever have been. But there is something about being involved in this kind of work over the years that you cannot put into words and, until you have been in these situations, it is hard to know how it feels. So the smile was one of knowing what it is like to be here, one of comradery and of an unsaid togetherness in helping to make people safer here in San Antonio. 

And these guys are like machines. But gentle, jokey machines. They take their job seriously, but they also realise that people didn't mean for their night to take a turn for the worse. They are gracious and kind, they are straight to the point, they celebrate when someone has remembered where they need to go, they get covered in bodily fluids when someone surprises them with vomit, they try to wake people up in creative ways and they are satisfied only when they know that someone is on their way home safely. Seeing them reminds me of many wonderful people that have come on our teams over the years. The tireless sacrifice and dedication to people that is often above and beyond.

We at 24-7 Ibiza are still up to our eyeballs in vomit and phonecalls. In total we helped 16 people tonight, visited the medical centre 3 times, delivered people to 4 different hotels and assisted people in all sorts of ways. But it is a beautiful moment to see others get involved - and not just do a job - but to carry something of the ethos of 24-7 with them.

We often get people shout at us "we love 24-7" or "keep going guys" as we walk down the street with someone slumped over our shoulders. It is comments like these that spur us on over the long summer nights caring for the transient community here. But now, for the first time, we are not the only people helping. So maybe you can extend your encouragement to them too, that when you see the flash of red t-shirt passing you by on the way to assist some of the more serious medical cases, you can spur them on their way too.

Welcome to the West End, Emergency Staff.

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