MEET FERNWOOD’S COMMUNITY FIRST RESPONDERS…
Fernwood is very lucky to have an active team of community first responders living in various parts of the village and who are often called upon to assist with medical emergencies in Fernwood and nearby.
Newark Ambulance Station is almost five miles away from Fernwood, so a first responder based locally is likely to get to you more quickly in an emergency.
The Fernwood team are Antony, Jan, Rob, and Victoria.
WHAT IS A COMMUNITY FIRST RESPONDER?
- Community first responders are volunteers trained in basic medical and life-saving techniques including CPR (chest compressions) and how to use a defibrillator in the case of a cardiac arrest where every second counts. They may also deal with strokes, handling diabetic emergencies and patients with breathing difficulties. These are just a very few examples of the sorts of things first responders may deal with.
- Like regular ambulance crews they work in teams of one or two, but responders use their own cars to get to emergencies.
- Responders wear a navy blue uniform with the words ‘Ambulance Responder’ on the back. Their medical bags are equipped to provide basic life support and emergency aid and they also carry defibrillators to deal with patients in cardiac arrest where every second counts.
- First responders may be despatched to the scene of a medical emergency if they are closer than the nearest ambulance. Their job is to stabilise and support the patient until the ambulance team arrive. An ambulance will always back up responders despite recent media reports to the contrary.
HOW DO I CONTACT A FIRST RESPONDER?
- You don’t! In the event of a medical emergency, you should always dial 999 and ask for the ambulance service.
- The 999 call handler will ask questions to help them prioritise the call and decide on the best course of action.
- A first responder or responder team may be despatched if available and closer than the nearest ambulance to start treatment whilst waiting for the ambulance to arrive.
WHY DO PEOPLE VOLUNTEER TO BE FIRST RESPONDERS?
For most responders it’s about helping people – often at a time of critical need – and giving something back to the community.
“When a responder logs on to the radio system as available, they have no idea what emergency is around the corner or what will greet them when they walk through a patient’s front door, but every call they attend could potentially save as life.” – Newark and District coordinator Hannah Smith.
HOW ARE FIRST RESPONDERS FUNDED?
Newark and District Community First Responders is a registered charity and has to raise its own funds – there is no government or NHS money for community first responders although training and other non-financial support is provided by the East Midlands Ambulance Service without charge.
It costs approximately £1,500 to put a responder on the road – that includes the cost of uniform, medical bag and defibrillator. All of this has to be funded by the responder scheme they are part of.
The responders raise money themselves in a number of ways, including by offering their first-aid services to local events in return for a donation – you’ve probably seen them at My Fernwood fetes, firework displays and other community events here in the village. In addition, the teams raise money by putting on fund-raising events. They also receive donations from members of the public who have benefited from their expertise.
If you’re a member of an organisation looking for a worthy cause to support, do please remember the community first responders.
HOW CAN I FIND OUT ABOUT BECOMING A FIRST RESPONDER?
If you live on Fernwood, please contact the Newark and District coordinator Hannah Smith on 07809 483230 in the first instance.