Urgent call to join team of life-savers

Community First Responders complete their training in Norfolk.

Community First Responders complete their training in Norfolk. - Credit: Archant

An appeal has gone out to urge people in Beccles and Bungay to volunteer to help save lives.

The East of England Ambulance Service runs Community First Responder (CFR) schemes which provides medical training to allow people to help patients with life-threatening conditions.

CFRs respond to 999 calls in the areas they live or work, meaning they can often be first on the scene before an ambulance or rapid response vehicle and perform basic lifesaving techniques in the crucial moments of an emergency.

Community Partnership Manager for Suffolk Jon Needle said: “Community first responders give up several hours of their time in the areas they live or work and their volunteering can make the vital difference between life or death, particularly in remote areas of the region where it is not always possible to get ambulance staff on scene in eight minutes.

“It is an extremely rewarding role and isn’t too time consuming.

“We ask CFRs to give up a minimum of 10 hours a month of their time and commit to training and assessments to maintain their skills.”

CFRs are trained to perform basic life support and go to 999 calls like cardiac arrests, diabetes emergencies, people who are choking, having a seizure or suffering from breathing problems.

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There are currently 357 CFRs in Suffolk and 350 in Norfolk, and the East of England Ambulance is particularly keen to hear from people in the Beccles and Bungay areas interested in signing up to help.

In 2015, CFRs attended 4,253 emergency calls in Suffolk, and Norfolk CFRs were called to 3,770 incidents.

Anyone can become a CFR as long as they are physically fit, between 18 and 70 and agree to a disclosure and barring service check (DBS).

To find out more, email responderadmin@eastamb.nhs.uk or visit http://www.eastamb.nhs.uk/Get-involved.

•Do you know a charity in urgent need of volunteers? Tell the Journal and email reporter Polly Grice on polly.grice@archant.co.uk.