What do teachers, care workers, security guards, travel managers, and Post Office clerks have in common?
They are from all walks of life, but share one common goal as a legion of community first responders.
Residents from across the East of England are being urged to join the growing network of responders during National Volunteers’ Week (June 1-7).
All this week the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) is highlighting and celebrating the work of our volunteers during CFR takeover week.
The Trust trains community first responders with the medical skills they need to attend life-threatening emergencies in the areas where they live or work before the arrival of an ambulance or rapid response vehicle.
There are more than 290 CFR groups in the East of England with 86 in Essex, 69 in Norfolk, 60 in Suffolk, 42 in Cambridgeshire, 24 in Hertfordshire and 12 in Bedfordshire.
On average, five CFRs are attending 999 calls every hour and they see around 70 patients a day. Last year CFRs attended 25,299 emergency calls, compared with 21,437 the year before.
Anthony Marsh, EEAST chief executive, said: “It is a privilege to have so many dedicated CFRs in the region. A CFR can make the vital difference between life and death in more remote areas of the region where it is not always possible to get ambulance staff on scene in eight minutes.
“Community first responders give up several hours of their time to help save lives in the areas they live or work and it is only right we celebrate their contribution this week. I’m extremely proud of our volunteers and I’d like to thank them all for the work they do.”
Community first responders are trained to perform basic life support and attend 999 calls such as cardiac arrests, where every second is vital when a patient is not breathing and does not have a pulse. They also attend diabetes emergencies and people who are choking, having a seizure or suffering from breathing problems.
Many schemes are funded by their local communities helping to supply the essential life-saving equipment that they use.