Meet the people who volunteer their spare time to help save lives.
The Community First Responders (CFR) scheme is a life-saving partnership between the Yorkshire Ambulance Service and authorised volunteers. In total, the Yorkshire Ambulance Service has over 1000 volunteer CFRs in 200 schemes across its entire area.
The scheme called Middleton CFRs consists of five volunteers; they cover Middleton and neighboring communities including Beeston, Holbeck, Belle Isle, Cottingley, Tingley, East Ardsley and Thorpe on the Hill. Community First Responder, Marc North says; “we’re the public at large, we have day jobs, and we volunteer our time to the slots that we see fit.”
The idea behind the scheme is that due to them being in close proximity, Community First Responders will be able to get to an incident within a few minutes. Community First Responder, and Scheme Coordinator, Laura Johns says:
“When people are really poorly like a cardiac arrest every second counts, so if we can get there in two minutes and start CPR then it’s a big boost for the patient and it could be the difference between a good result and a not so good result.”
They are trained by the Community Resilience Team at the Yorkshire Ambulance Service to be able to respond to: Cardiac Arrests, Heart Attacks, chest pain, Strokes, fitting/convulsions, unconscious patients, difficulty breathing, diabetic incidents and anaphylaxis. The Yorkshire Ambulance Service will not knowingly dispatch CFR’s to dangerous situations involving violence, alcohol or drugs, Laura says; “we’re not trained for it, and we’re not paid for it. They just won’t do it.”
Unlike the Ambulance Service, CFRs have to adhere to civil law, meaning they have no traffic allowances, Mark North says; “we’ll get there quicker by sheer lack of distance needed to travel, rather than driving fast.”
HOW THE PUBLIC CAN HELP
A problem arises for Community First Responders when they receive calls without enough information about the location of the incident. Marc North says; “it sounds silly but state house numbers, and make them easily seen. You can generally read between the lines, it really does help as time is of the essence.”
CFRs don’t have the same technology as the Ambulance service; they use Satnavs on their phones to locate each incident. Community First Responder, and Scheme Coordinator, Laura Johns says; “when you’re on a call for a cardiac arrest, you’re adrenaline pumping it’s really frustrating not to be able to see house numbers, give as much information as you can when you ring 999 it can really help us down the line.”
For ideas on how to make your house numbers more visible click here.
This post was written by Ellie Taylor using our Create an article for South Leeds Life page.