More community responders needed

A SALES assistant from Ditchingham who has been called out to almost 350 life-threatening emergencies is appealing for more people to volunteer as a community responder.

Alan Rudd, who works at the Three Willows Garden Centre on Flixton Road in Bungay, has been a community first responder in the area since July 2009.

The 29-year-old has notched up the huge number of responses by attending call-outs from the East of England Ambulance Service, ranging from fits and falls to heart attacks and cardiac arrests.

“When I started, the first few jobs were quite nerve-wracking,” he said.

“But once you get into a routine it makes it easier to respond because you know what you’re going into.”

Community first responders have been active in Bungay for nearly five years and are a group of volunteers who give their time freely to respond to 999 emergency calls.

They are able to give basic life support to a patient until the arrival of an emergency ambulance and, because they live locally, they are sometimes able to arrive on scene several minutes before the ambulance to provide early life saving treatment.

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Although Mr Rudd’s everyday duties at work include stock buying, merchandising and cashier work, when a patient fell ill recently on a visit to the garden centre Mr Rudd was on hand to administer oxygen and look after the patient until the ambulance arrived.

“In April we had a customer who had come in for a bite to eat,” he explained.

“Then they stated they didn’t feel very well so I assessed them and decided I needed an ambulance to come and assist as I was concerned for the lady.”

His employer Peter Watts, has now kindly given him permission to leave work to attend urgent life threatening calls, when there are no other responders available.

Responder co-ordinator Al Rushbrooke said: “This is such a generous thing Mr Watts has done for our group and for the people of our community.

“This is the first employer within the Bungay group who has allowed their employee to be released for this purpose and if somebody out there is in cardiac arrest with no other responder available, then Alan will be a perfect position to get basic life support to that patient prior to the ambulance arriving.”

When a patient is suffering a heart attack or is in cardiac arrest then getting early intervention of basic life support to that patient in the first three minutes is vital. Mr Rudd has already had two successful resuscitations from cardiac arrests in his first few months with the group.

Of volunteering Mr Rudd said: “One of our main jobs is to offer reassurance for the people we are going out to help.

“It is very rewarding but you have to be a very caring person. It is not for everyone. You do reap the benefits.

“I would like more people to join and help volunteer.”

Mr Rudd estimated that he attends approximately two call outs a week.

He added: “We are always on the lookout for volunteers, which helps us provide 24 hour care.”

Mr Rudd is also a lowland search and rescue volunteer for Norfolk and Suffolk and gives his spare time up freely to both groups.

If you are interesting in joining the Bungay community first responders please call Christine Porter on 01284 731802.