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Volunteers Required for Community First Responder Schemes in Rotherham

14 September 2007

14 September 2007

Yorkshire Ambulance Service is looking for volunteers in Rotherham to join its Community First Responder schemes. An open-evening is being held on Wednesday 26 September at the Ambulance Service Control Centre in Rotherham for people to find out more.

Community First Responders are volunteers who provide immediate life-saving care to members of their local communities in an emergency medical situation, such as heart attack, breathing difficulties or a collapse, in the vital minutes before the ambulance arrives.

They are trained in Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and the use of an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) which delivers a controlled electric shock to restart the heart. First Responders also carry portable oxygen. 

Volunteers are being sought for existing schemes in Maltby, Thurcroft, and Dinnington.  New schemes may also be considered if there are 6 or more interested volunteers in a community. These groups will have to fundraise in order to purchase part of the equipment and assistance would be provided with this.

Emma Scott, Community Defibrillation Officer for Yorkshire Ambulance Service, says: "Community First Responders make a valuable contribution to their communities, particularly in the many rural and outlying areas across the county.  We know that in many medical emergencies the first few minutes are critical.  If effective treatment can be performed within those first few minutes, lives can be saved and disability reduced.  This is especially true for heart attacks and injuries that have caused someone to lose consciousness.

"Being a First Responder can be extremely rewarding and I would urge anyone who may be interested in taking on the role to come along to the Open Evening and find out more."

Full training will be given to successful applicants who need to be over-18, physically fit and hold a full driving licence with no more than three penalty points. Yorkshire Ambulance Service will also run Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) checks on candidates.

The Open Evening is being held at the Ambulance Control Centre, Fairfield, Moorgate Road, Rotherham, S60 2BQ on Wednesday 26 September at 7.00pm. 

For more information please contact Emma Scott at the Yorkshire Ambulance Service 07970 728136 or email emma.scott@syas.nhs.uk

Note to Editors

1. More than 260,000 people suffer a heart attack in the UK each year, about a third of whom die before reaching hospital due to cardiac arrest. A cardiac arrest most often occurs as a result of a heart attack, when the heart is starved of oxygen. Cardiac arrests cause the heart either to quiver, known as fibrillation, or stop beating altogether. The defibrillators carried by Community First Responders work by delivering a controlled electric shock through the chest wall to the heart to restore a normal heartbeat after a cardiac arrest. The faster this treatment is delivered, the better the outcome for the patient.

2. Community First Responders can also administer oxygen and are trained in basic life support skills, which could be invaluable in the minutes before the ambulance arrives. All Responders carry Yorkshire Ambulance Service ID cards and may attend patients with chest pain or difficulty breathing and patients who are unconscious or who have collapsed.

3. When an emergency call is received at the Ambulance Communication Centre, an ambulance or Rapid Response Vehicle is dispatched as soon as possible.  At the same time a Community First Responder, on-call in the area, can be alerted with the relevant details and asked to assist at the 999 incident.

Produced By: Corporate Communications Department