Make volunteering as a Community First Responder your New Year resolution, the East of England Ambulance Service has urged.
More than 1,000 volunteers are members of 300 first responder groups across the East and the ambulance service wants more.
First responders are trained by EEAST, usually over a weekend, to respond to medical emergencies including cardiac arrests, patients with chest pain, breathing difficulties, allergic reactions and diabetes emergencies.
Because CFRs volunteer where they live or work, they often reach a patient before the arrival of an ambulance clinician. Every second counts when someone is not breathing and CFRs are trained to do cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and carry defibrillators.
The EEAST campaign to encourage more volunteers includes a You Tube video of Shauna Tate explaining why she joined Thetford CFR groups in 2016 after her son was treated for sepsis.
She says while travelling in the ambulance with her son she wished she could be a paramedic but realised with young children and a husband at work, she could not handle the shifts.
She adds: “Being a first responder, every day you can do something different. If I have to pick my kids up from school, I can log off.
“It’s so flexible, it suits me right now and I wish I’d done it earlier.”
Steve Catley, Lead Community Collaboration Manager for EEAST, said: “New Year is a time for making resolutions and setting goals for the forthcoming year. By becoming a CFR you will be joining a big family of life-savers and will be making a vital contribution to your community and the ambulance service.
“We are privileged to have so many dedicated CFRs who give up a lot of their time to volunteer. However, you can still make a difference if you can only spare a few hours a week.”
For more information on becoming a CFR visit www.eastamb.nhs.uk/join-the-team/community-first-responders