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Bid to recruit potential lifesavers

PUBLISHED: 18:35 19 March 2008 | UPDATED: 10:27 12 July 2010

A DRIVE is on to recruit community first responders in the Diss and Harleston areas.

First responders are public spirited volunteers who are trained to support the ambulance service by attending emergency calls in their area, where time can make the difference between life and death.

A DRIVE is on to recruit community first responders in the Diss and Harleston areas.

First responders are public spirited volunteers who are trained to support the ambulance service by attending emergency calls in their area, where time can make the difference between life and death.

They take it in turn to be "on call" and carry basic first aid equipment and a simple to use automated defibrillator. They are alerted by the Ambulance Service to all immediately life threatening medical calls (Category A) in their area and are dispatched at the same time as the ambulance crew.

Being local means they often arrive a few minutes ahead of the ambulance and are able to begin to start life saving procedures and care for the patient until the ambulance arrives.

Andrew Barlow, responder manager for the ambulance service in Norfolk said: "The period of time between someone collapsing from cardiac arrest and being defibrillated to restart their heart is the single most important factor to their survival. Although it sounds like a dramatic scenario, with the correct training almost anyone has the potential to save a life.

"We are looking to recruit and train more people for existing groups in Diss, Harleston, Acle, Potter Heigham and North Walsham on courses being held in May. Anyone living or working within their community can get involved, either as a First Responder, or helping with other vital aspects of the scheme as fund-raising, support or administration.

"It isn't necessary to have previous first aid experience to join a local group, as full training will be provided. Free training is provided by the Ambulance Service and takes only a few evenings to complete. It includes managing an incident, making a survey of a patient and managing a patient who is not breathing and has no pulse; as well as training in the use of resuscitation techniques, the use of oxygen equipment and how to use the defibrillator. It's an incredibly rewarding experience and something which demonstrates great community spirit."

If you are interested in training and joining any of these groups, in finding out about a scheme where you live, or if you would like to set up a scheme in your community, contact us by e-mail at responderadmin@eastamb.nhs.uk or telephone 01284 731802 or call Andrew Barlow direct on 07717 375272.

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