Ambulance chiefs have launched a campaign to promote the lifesaving work of East Anglia’s fleet of first responder teams, which aims to boost volunteer numbers.

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The East of England Ambulance Service is promoting the work of community first responders (CFR), who are able to attend life-threatening emergencies before the arrival of paramedics.

The NHS trust launched a week-long campaign on Monday to highlight the work of volunteer lifesavers and to encourage more people to join the scheme.

First responders receive training from the ambulance service and are called out to local incidents such as cardiac arrests and diabetic emergencies to assist patients before the arrival of ambulance crews.

The service is running a “take over” week to promote the scheme across the six counties with a ‘Twitterthon’ on the frontline on Wednesday and there will be a Facebook webchat featuring the head of responders in the East on Friday.

Lorna Hayes, regional community partnership lead for the ambulance service, said: “We know that this is not only an invaluable lifesaving role but an incredibly satisfying one for our volunteers.”

“Quite often you may know the person whose life you have saved as they live, work or study close to where you do and to give someone their life back is the most rewarding gift giving there can be. This is why we have launched a whole week dedicated to showcasing the amazing work of our CFRs so that if anyone is interested they can join too.”

Anyone able to undertake the role with access to a car can do so from the age of 18.

Rachel Hillier, coordinator of the Diss Community First Responders, said no first aid experience was necessary for volunteers. She added that it had been a busy few weeks as a result of the snow and big freeze.

“We have a very strong core in Diss, but there is only five of us and we are particularly stretched at times and we are desperate to get more people. Most of our volunteers work full-time and help in the evenings and weekends. Our group is community minded and caring,” she said.

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