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First responders need YOUR help

PUBLISHED: 19:52 18 June 2008 | UPDATED: 10:32 12 July 2010

A DISS-based team of lifesavers is looking for more volunteers to help with its vital work.

The First Responders have been trained in basic life support, the use of oxygen and a defibrillator and administer first aid until an ambulance arrives.

A DISS-based team of lifesavers is looking for more volunteers to help with its vital work.

The First Responders have been trained in basic life support, the use of oxygen and a defibrillator and administer first aid until an ambulance arrives. Acting on behalf of the East of England Ambulance Service, they are called to people suffering from chest pain, heart attack and collapsed victims.

At the moment Diss has only two fully-trained, operational First Responders in the area and they urgently need more people to join them.

Anyone interested will attend a two-day training course run by the Ambulance Service in either Norwich, King's Lynn, Bury St Edmunds or Ipswich. This is followed by an assessment, which volunteers have to pass before qualifying as a responder.

On call times are dependent on volunteers' goodwill and can vary between one day or night a week or even once a month. The Responders are grateful for any time commitment, long or short.

When there is an emergency call, the Responder will be contacted, via a mobile phone text message, to attend an incident and would automatically receive backup from the nearest ambulance available. Responders are dispatched at the same time as the ambulance crew but being local means they often arrive a few minutes ahead of the ambulance and are able to begin lifesaving procedures and care of the patient until the ambulance arrives.

If a person's heart has stopped because of an accident or heart attack and is in a rhythm called ventricular fibrillation, the only way to get the heart into a more regular sustaining beat is to pass an electrical charge through the heart muscle. The first eight minutes are the most vital for the collapsed person and, if first aid and a defibrillator are on hand then the chance of survival will increase considerably.

The Responders give the patient a better chance of survival and at the moment in Diss there are two.

Carley Ward, 28 and a mother of two, has been a postwoman for 12 years and lives in Roydon. Her group co-ordinator Rachel Hillier saw First Responders in action some years ago in Suffolk and it fired her imagination to join the potential lifesavers.

If you are reasonably fit, a car owner or have access to a car and would be interested in becoming a Responder contact the Community Responder Team on 01284 731802 (9am - 5pm) or 01603 481220 (out of hours). E-mail: responderadmin@eastamb.nhs.uk

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