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Life-saving Volunteers Honoured

18 March 2010

The commitment and dedication of West Yorkshire’s life-saving volunteers has been recognised at a special event held by Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust (YAS) on Saturday 13 March 2010.

The event was held at Leeds United Football Club who, along with Land Securities and the White Rose Shopping Centre, generously supported the occasion where around 220 Community First Responders received appreciation awards for their valuable work alongside the ambulance service.

Community First Responders provide immediate life-saving care to members of their local communities in the vital minutes before the ambulance arrives. They are trained in basic life-support, Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and oxygen therapy and are equipped with a kit which includes oxygen and an automated external defibrillator (AED) to help patients in a medical emergency such as a heart attack, collapse or breathing difficulties.

Neil Kirk, YAS Community Defibrillation Officer, said: “In 2009 our volunteers across West Yorkshire attended 3,344 patients alongside ambulance crews, including many suffering cardiac arrest. We know that in many medical emergencies the first few minutes are critical and, if effective treatment can be performed within those first minutes, lives can be saved.

“The volunteers' commitment to the initiative is remarkable and each and every one of them makes a valuable contribution to their local community. We are proud to work alongside Community First Responders who help us do what matters the most - save lives.”

Special achievement awards were presented to two volunteers who have gone over and above the call of duty in support of the Community First Responder scheme.

Neil Kirk, Raymond Howitt and Jeremy Fisher  

Pictured, left to right, YAS Community Defibrillation Officer Neil Kirk with special achievement award winners Raymond Howitt and Jeremy Fisher

Raymond Howitt, of Moldgreen in Huddersfield, was presented with an award, sponsored by Land Securities in conjunction with the White Rose Shopping Centre, for his ‘outstanding contribution’ to the life-saving initiative. Raymond became a volunteer in 2004 and has single-handedly responded to over 1,350 emergency calls within his community during this time - 434 of these were within the last year. 

The James Lee award, named after a volunteer who sadly passed away last year, was presented to Jeremy Fisher from Greetland in Halifax for his tireless work to raise the profile of Community First Responders. Jeremy not only dedicates a huge amount of time responding to emergency calls in his local community, but has provided endless help and support to YAS in the promotion of the initiative at community events across Yorkshire.       

 Anyone interested in finding out more about the Community First Responder scheme, or to join a scheme in your local area, contact Neil Kirk, Community Defibrillation Officer at YAS, tel: 0845 120 3155 or email: neil.kirk@yas.nhs.uk

Produced By: Corporate Communications Department