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Upper Derwent First Responders

04 June 2007

4 June 2007

A new life-saving group is being launched in Upper Derwent this week.
The Community First Responders are trained by the Yorkshire Ambulance Service (YAS) to provide local people with life-saving treatment in the first vital minutes before an ambulance arrives on scene.

Community First Responders can be called to emergencies, such as a heart attack, breathing difficulties or a collapse. 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. 

Following an appeal earlier this year eight volunteers have come forward to form the group - including a policeman, a licensed victualler and an estate agent. The group is being run by Mark Wright - a YAS Emergency Medical Technician (EMT).

Mike Raw, Community Defibrillation Trainer for YAS, said:

"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 to contact us."

Applicants need to be over-18 and physically fit. Yorkshire Ambulance Service will also run Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) checks on candidates. Full training will be provided by Yorkshire Ambulance Service.

You are invited to send a photographer / reporter to the official launch of Upper Derwent Community First Responders on Friday 8 June at 1pm at the Downe Arms in Wykeham. There will be the opportunity to speak to members of the group and Community Defibrillation Trainers from Yorkshire Ambulance Service.

Note to Editors

1. More than 260,000 people suffer a heart attack in the UK each year, about a third of who 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. 

4. Yorkshire Forward has provided £3000 to help start Upper Derwent Community First Responders.

5. For more information about the Upper Derwent Community First Responders, please contact Mark Wright on 07714 370 621.

Produced By: Corporate Communications Department