Ambulance worker who responded to Clutha Bar helicopter crash is honoured by The Queen

A dedicated Scottish Ambulance Service employee who was involved in the response to the Clutha Bar helicopter crash, the George Square bin lorry tragedy and Glasgow Airport attack has been recognised by The Queen.

Donna Baillie, of SAS’s National Risk and Resilience Department (NRRD), based at Newbridge, has been awarded the Queen’s Ambulance Medal (QAM).

The honour acknowledges ambulance personnel who have shown exceptional devotion to duty, merit and conduct.

Donna is a Resilience Manager who leads on preparing the Scottish Ambulance Service for major incidents.

Since joining the Service in 1995, Donna (50), has been involved in several major incidents during her time with NRRD, including the Clutha Bar helicopter crash, the George Square bin lorry tragedy and the Glasgow Airport attack.

In 2020, she was acknowledged for her involvement in her work to provide recommendations to Scottish Ministers on tightening devolved legislation on fireworks in Scotland.

When notified she would receive the award, she didn’t believe it at first.

Donna, from Sooth Queensferry, said: “It’s still sinking in, and completely unexpected. It’s lovely to get, and it’s nice to see the resilience world be recognised and the wider NRRD, where we work in the background preparing the Service for incidents.”

When she first joined SAS, Donna started as an ambulance care assistant in Edinburgh then became a technician a year later. She later became a paramedic at Dunfermline before joining NRRD in 2007 as a resilience officer. She has been in her current role as a manager for seven years.

Her main role revolves around preparing SAS for high-risk situations, in the event of the large-scale incident, which involves carrying out training and education, and working alongside emergency service colleagues and other partner agencies to share information.

Recalling her first major incident during her time with NRRD, she said it was the Glasgow Airport Attack in 2007, where a car laden with propane gas cylinders and petrol cans was driven at speed into the doors of the departure area. Five people were injured in the terrorist attack.She said: “It was my first experience at a major incident and was very nerve wracking, but a good introduction to my first incident.”

At Clutha, she was a safety officer on the Saturday morning and during George Square, she acted as a liaison at the Service’s Ambulance Control Centre in Cardonald.

SAS Chief Operating Officer Paul Bassett said: “Donna is an inspiring role model who is an excellent and highly professional ambassador for the Scottish Ambulance Service. She has been heavily involved in several major incidents and her work in preparing SAS for large-scale incidents is invaluable. We are truly grateful for everything he has done for the Service and she thoroughly deserves this prestigious accolade.”

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