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Volunteer lifesaver group launched in Harlow

Communities / Wed 26th Nov 2014 at 11:28am

First respondersA NEW group of volunteers that supports the ambulance service in their community has launched in Harlow.

The Harlow Community First Responder group was launched on Thursday, 6th November with three members. The group will be co-ordinated by David Thurgood, a Harlow resident with a wealth of knowledge in first aid training.

Community First Responders (CFR) are activated by the East of England Ambulance Service (EEAST) to attend emergency calls where time can make the difference between life and death. Volunteers take it in turns to be on call and carry basic first aid equipment as well as an easy-to-use automated external defibrillator (AED).

The emergency operations centre sends them to the scene of high category 999 calls which have been triaged as potentially immediately life threatening. Community First Responders are dispatched at the same time as the ambulance crew, but often arrive beforehand because they are based so locally. The responder then provides care until the ambulance arrives, usually only a few minutes later.

The group has so far been dispatched to almost 20 emergency 999 calls, but with more volunteers they could give a greater amount of cover.

Jack Squires, CFR lead for west Essex, said: “Last year we highlighted a need for a group to start in Harlow and we’re pleased to say that it is now fully operational with members trained ready to help their community. The benefit of having a Harlow group is that our volunteers should only be four minutes away from a call, be it that they live or work locally. This way a patient can be assessed and treatment started during those vital first minutes of an emergency while an ambulance is on its way.”

EEAST Senior Locality Manager, Karl Edwards, said: “I’m so pleased to see the group up and running in Harlow. CFRs provide such a good lifeline to communities, and because it’s not unusual to be called to neighbours or even family members, some poignant relationships are often established. As with any voluntary group, the more members we can recruit the more cover we can give. People can be on call for as little or as much time as they’re able. What’s important is that they want to contribute something worthwhile to Harlow in a positive way.”

For more information on the group and how to become a qualified member, contact Jack Squires by email on [email protected].

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