Volunteer to be a lifesaver in March

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IN a life-threatening medical emergency, time is of the essence and receiving quick lifesaving treatment can mean the difference between life and death. For patients suffering severe medical emergencies, their chance of survival reduces for every minute help does not arrive.

But a group in March are there to help. The Community First Responder Scheme is a group of volunteers trained and equipped to provide the lifesaving treatment required by these patients while the ambulance is on its way, and they are looking for more people to join their ranks.

Nicky Hoad (28) and Andy Harwin (21) are the joint co-ordinators of the group.

Nicky said: “Some of us have children and we work, so we can’t always offer a lot of time. We’re getting lots of calls to go to, so there’s a need for us.”

The group is made up of Nicky, Andy, Lee Sustins and Karen Martin. Nicky has been in the group for around two-and-a-half years and still enjoys it.

Andy joined the group when he turned 18, the minimum age to be a Community First Responder, and said it was really good experience for his job as an emergency care assistant for the ambulance service.

He said: “You get the excitement of the call and going out helping, but the best part is that you’re first on scene. It’s brilliant experience if someone is looking to go into the ambulance service.”

You do not need prior experience to become a Community First Responder, as all volunteers receive training from the ambulance service, and there is no minimum commitment. You must have access to a vehicle with a clean driving licence, be over 18 and be prepared to undertake a CRB check.

Nicky added: “You have to have some kind of drive to make a difference. You need to be a people person and have good communication skills, because once you arrive, you become that person’s lifeline.”

If you cannot spare the time to become a First Responder, you can still help the group. They are trying to raise £350 for a pulse oximeter, which measures the oxygen in a patient’s blood.

For more information or to donate, email marchcfr@hotmail.co.uk