Appeal to recruit first responders

Potential Volunteer Community First Responders will receive training from the Yorkshire Ambulance Service.
Potential Volunteer Community First Responders will receive training from the Yorkshire Ambulance Service.

A campaign to recruit Volunteer Community First Responders (CFR) has been launched in the Pocklington and district area.

Local CFRs give up time voluntarily, are trained by Yorkshire Ambulance Service (YAS), and attend certain emergencies, including cardiac arrests, heart attacks, chest pains, strokes, breathing and asthma problems, diabetic emergencies, seizures, choking, allergic reactions and falls.

The CFRs carry a defibrillator, oxygen, and equipment to provide initial basic life support, and are trained to carry out on-scene patient assessment, and record information, to pass to the ambulance crew, on their arrival.

CFRs primarily cover local communities, attending incidents in people’s homes, workplaces, schools, and at shops, restaurants, hotels, care homes, and on some occasions, in public places.

The CFR role was originally conceived to attend cardiac arrests, and provide CPR (cardio pulmonary resuscitation) in the first few critical minutes after an arrest and the remit has widened over the years.

A spokesman said: “We all hope we never need an ambulance in an emergency.

“But if we do, everyone wants the fastest possible response.

“Generally, an ambulance crew will arrive first, to assist with your emergency.

“On other occasions, a Volunteer Community First Responder (CFR) will reach you first, if the CFR is the nearest available person.

“The CFR will support the patient until an ambulance crew arrives.

One CFR said: “Where we are close by, we can be on the scene within minutes.

“Once we are on scene, we provide initial support, and gather information about the patient; we can support them if their condition deteriorates.”

Nearly 1,000 CFR’s across Yorkshire, from all walks of life, attend around 17,000 incidents per year.

CFR’s need not be clinicians by profession, but are rigorously trained and regularly up-skilled.

YAS are keen to hear from potential new recruits in and around Pocklington for this voluntary activity.

Tom Render from YAS, who trains and manages volunteers in many parts of Yorkshire, said: “CFR’s fulfil a highly-valued role.

“The larger our team, the more coverage we can give to our communities, and the more calls CFR’s will be able to attend.

“The people we seek as CFR’s have to possess integrity, compassion, calmness when operating alone under pressure, risk-awareness, and a true sense of professionalism and responsibility.

“The selection and training process ensures that we and the applicants know what we’re undertaking.”

Anyone interested in exploring a CFR role, can look at www.communityresponders.yas.nhs.uk, or send an email to yas.responders@nhs.net or contact Yorkshire Ambulance Service on 0333 130 0516.