Volunteers out in the cold, cold snow!
|Published: 7th January 2010 10:18|
During the recent icy weather and heavy snowfall which has struck the Valley and surrounding districts, the Rossendale team of Community First Responders has been actively helping the North West Ambulance Service by keeping in touch with patients needing treatment for serious and life threatening illnesses.
The Rossendale CFRs are a 30 strong team of volunteers who are on call throughout the Valley to attend incidents such as chest pain, unconsciousness, diabetic and epileptic incidents, cardiac arrests and many more medical emergencies. During the bad weather, the seven kits in Rossendale have been busy in the community, sometimes with members of the team who have four wheel drive vehicles , which are more able to access areas off the main roads , and on other occasions when the only means of transport is on foot!
CFR groups work with the North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) across the region and are trained to deliver basic life support and defibrillation to patients in cardiac arrest. They are also trained to attend a range of conditions where they can administer oxygen and first aid and play a reassurance role for the patient in advance of the ambulance arriving. Each on-call Responder carries a kit which contains an Automated Electronic Defibrillator, oxygen and other equipment to immediately help the patient until the ambulance service are able to get to the scene.
CFRs are activated by NWAS to attend certain emergency calls where time can make the difference between life and death. A CFR will attend an incident under normal road speed.
Community First Responders are not a replacement for an emergency ambulance vehicle, as an ambulance is always dispatched to an emergency call, but an ‘on-call' member of the Responder team working in the town or village where the call is made from and they may be nearer and able to provide help within a matter of a minute."
Volunteers can be male or female, aged over eighteen years and no previous experience is necessary as full training will be given. They must have access to a car and be able to attend emergency calls from either their home or place of work, if they make themselves available to the Trust's emergency control centres. While a responder is on call they can continue with their normal day to day activities while in the local area, but must be ready to drop everything and attend a call should one arise.
A Community First Responder needs to be extremely reliable and trust worthy, good under pressure, able to remain calm in emergency situations, be caring when dealing with patients and have a good level of physical fitness.
A training course for new CFRs is planned locally at the end of January, so if you would like more information on becoming a Community First Responder or to find out more, please contact Central Office on 01772 903 989 or visit the website www.nwas-responders.info.