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.

For more information, visit www.eastamb.nhs.uk

12 comments

  • the main reason for first responders is to stop the clock in rural areas where the trust cant get a ambulance there within 8 mins. Responders go to "life threatening" calls so they say but they dont. If the trust is running out of time, they will be sent. Most of the calls responders go to, responders cant do anything at all, apart from Short of Breath ( but only give oxygen) no drugs at all to help with the airway, and also cardiac arrest, I think first responders should only be sent to cardiac arrests, as thats the only thing they can make a difference. The number of responders think they should have blue lights and sirens on thier cars is unreal. The training the trust delivers for first responders is not a lot either. Basic first aid and use of oxygen and defib. Maybe the Norfolk First responder manager, should do more 999 calls himself. I think its a waste of a paramedic

    Report this comment

    OnlyMe2011

    Tuesday, January 22, 2013

  • OnlyMe. Couldn't have put it better myself. I have lots more to say but I am sure it wouldn't be published here !

    Report this comment

    Rolf

    Tuesday, January 22, 2013

  • Is this a reaction to the Coroner's stinging criticism of the EAAT last week at an inquest? From reading that it is clear that First Responders are unable to deal with certain life threatening conditions like being trapped in a car. Surely the better way forward is more trained and mobile paramedics placed where they need them? And for the hospitals to stop making them wait outside A & E with patients on board so they can hit their targets?

    Report this comment

    Drayton Resident

    Tuesday, January 22, 2013

  • I know first responders are trained etc., but, I would be put off joining because these days people are only too keen to sue if anything goes wrong, likewise I am not sure if I would try resusitation if anyone had a heart attack in the street in front of me.

    Report this comment

    Lynda

    Tuesday, January 22, 2013

  • why not use trauma care trained firefighters to co respond

    Report this comment

    Cromer cranky

    Tuesday, January 22, 2013

  • That will take a lot of money Drayton. Did you know EAAT takes on average 19,000 calls a week! I think they do a valuable and important job and are underpaid, if you ask me! If the government wants to give them more money I'm sure they would spend it wisely!

    Report this comment

    Neil

    Tuesday, January 22, 2013

  • the main reason for first responders is to stop the clock in rural areas where the trust cant get a ambulance there within 8 mins. Responders go to "life threatening" calls so they say but they dont. If the trust is running out of time, they will be sent. Most of the calls responders go to, responders cant do anything at all, apart from Short of Breath ( but only give oxygen) no drugs at all to help with the airway, and also cardiac arrest, I think first responders should only be sent to cardiac arrests, as thats the only thing they can make a difference. The number of responders think they should have blue lights and sirens on thier cars is unreal. The training the trust delivers for first responders is not a lot either. Basic first aid and use of oxygen and defib. Maybe the Norfolk First responder manager, should do more 999 calls himself. I think its a waste of a paramedic

    Report this comment

    OnlyMe2011

    Tuesday, January 22, 2013

  • why not use trauma care trained firefighters to co respond

    Report this comment

    Cromer cranky

    Tuesday, January 22, 2013

  • That will take a lot of money Drayton. Did you know EAAT takes on average 19,000 calls a week! I think they do a valuable and important job and are underpaid, if you ask me! If the government wants to give them more money I'm sure they would spend it wisely!

    Report this comment

    Neil

    Tuesday, January 22, 2013

  • why not use trauma care trained firefighters to co respond

    Report this comment

    Cromer cranky

    Tuesday, January 22, 2013

  • The Ambulance Service (managers) are consistently failing to provide ambulance cover in Norfolk. First responders are cheap and plug the gap in the published figures and very little more.

    Report this comment

    Farquarson-Smythe

    Tuesday, January 22, 2013

  • Will they get free choc from the EDP as well? Does the EEAT like them so much because they are a cheap alternative to a properly resourced ambulance service per chance? More first responders equals more budget left over for trust top brass to spend on top notch 'company' cars for themselves.

    Report this comment

    Police Commissioner ???

    Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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