In addition to replying to lots of emails today I will be spending much of the day on duty volunteering as a Community First Responder with the North West Ambulance Service, something I have done for the past six years.
As I have been in Colne since lockdown begun, I have been able to spend over 350 hours on call and have responded to more than forty 999 calls in recent weeks. Alongside this on a weekend I have been able to help with PPE packing at Burnley and Preston Ambulance Stations, Covid-19 testing at Accrington Ambulance Station and helping run a welfare vehicle at Blackpool Victoria.
As volunteer First Responders we are fully trained by the Ambulance Service and attend serious incidents such as cardiac arrests, strokes, diabetic collapses, difficulty breathing and more besides. Depending on our level of training First Responders carry defibrillators, oxygen and some basic drugs. We are never sent instead of an ambulance but as well as.
Being embedded in our local communities we are often able to arrive on scene more quickly than ambulance crews which in the case of situations such as a cardiac arrest where minutes and seconds count, can make a big difference to a patient's outcomes.
All volunteers are fully trained and receive on-going training and assessment throughout the year. We respond from our own homes when on duty and ask volunteers to commit a minimum of about 4 hours per week.
Given current issues, recruitment is presently suspended until the training can be recommenced. However, we do not want to lose the enthusiasm that exists to help the NHS at the moment so I am compiling a list of people who are interested for when recruitment begins.
We are presently relying on a small number of volunteers and as we emerge from Covid-19 we want to be in a position to up our cover and number of volunteers so we are taking down the details of those who interested so that we can be first in line to train new volunteers when recruitment commences.
If this sounds like it could be of interest to you please drop me an email and I will keep you posted when recruitment starts again.