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York Taxi Life-Saving Scheme Expands

05 September 2014

Additional private taxi company staff to train as Community First Responders

An innovative partnership between Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust (YAS) and Fleetways Taxis launched in February this year is due to expand, with an additional five of the company’s drivers training to be life-saving Community First Responders (CFRs).

CFRs 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.

Ten drivers at Fleetways Taxis were originally trained by staff at YAS and a further five will soon be adding to this number. The training has included Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), the use of an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) which delivers a controlled electric shock to restart the heart and the drivers will also carry and administer portable oxygen. 

Office staff at the firm are also supporting the scheme after an AED was made available at the Fleetways Taxis base next to York Railway Station, enabling them to attend any incidents within a 200 metre radius.

The vital life-saving equipment was funded in partnership between the two organisations. The Scheme has provided the opportunity for YAS to trial new technology for CFRs that will enable quicker access and earlier activation when responding to life-threatening 999 calls, for example, heart conditions, breathing difficulties and other medical emergencies.

Fleetways contacted YAS after a taxi driver from another firm asked for their help when a passenger went into cardiac arrest. A bit of research showed the life-saving benefits of public-access AEDs and the company approached YAS for advice and training support after deciding to purchase their own equipment. It was at this point that the Fleetways CFR Scheme was established.

Paul Stevens, Locality Manager for the YAS Community Resilience Team, said: “Community First Responders make a valuable contribution to their communities and we are delighted to welcome additional members of the Fleetways team to the scheme. 

“We know that in many medical emergencies the first few minutes are critical.  If effective treatment can be performed within those first minutes, lives can be saved and disability reduced. Taxi drivers are situated in the city centre, work a wide range of hours and are mobile across a large area of the locality, this means they could be very well-placed to respond to an emergency situation and help us to save lives at any time, day or night.

“The team’s existing volunteers have attended several calls since their scheme launched in February and the initiative is a great example of how the Trust is willing to work in partnership with private companies and local communities to provide the best possible care for the people of Yorkshire.

“We’re looking forward to welcoming our new CFRs and we’re proud to extend our working relationship with Fleetways.”

Chris Greensmith, Office Manager at Fleetways Taxis added: “As a company we were delighted to enter into this collaboration with Yorkshire Ambulance Service and are proud of the efforts our drivers and staff have put into scheme so far.  Fleetways also have close links with the York Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and we feel that by providing this voluntary service it shows the measure of our commitment to the hospital, the emergency services and the people of York.”

The Trust is always looking for people to join its Community First Responder scheme. Volunteers come from all walks of life and full training is provided.

Applicants need to be over 18, physically fit and hold a full driving licence having never been banned from driving with no more than three penalty points.  Yorkshire Ambulance Service will also run Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks on candidates.

Anyone interested can find out more from Neil Marsay, Community Defibrillation Officer at Neil.Marsay@yas.nhs.uk

Produced By: Corporate Communications Department