Thanks to the generosity of local people, businesses and charities, Community First Responders Whitley have been able to purchase a vital rapid response vehicle, which will carry potentially life-saving equipment and enable volunteers to reach the scene of emergency as quickly as possible.
Sponsors and supporters raised £25,000 for the Community First Responders Whitley Scheme, which covers the south of Reading area and is co-ordinated by South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust. While the NHS Trust provides training, some essential equipment and ongoing support, essentially the service is relies on charitable donations and volunteers to remain viable.
Community First Responder (CFR) volunteers are trained in basic life-saving skills and are dispatched following emergency calls to the ambulance service, to provide care until the ambulance arrives. Volunteers come from all walks of life and operate on a rota system from their own home or place of work to attend ‘immediately life – threatening’ emergencies such as cardiac arrest, diabetic emergency, unconscious patients, breathing difficulties and seizures.
According to Community First Responder and local businessman Andrew Withers, volunteers can often arrive on a scene of an emergency before an ambulance and those extra minutes can prove vital in providing immediate life-saving treatment.
“In the case of cardiac arrest, for example, every minute that passes without cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and defibrillation, reduces a patient’s chances of survival by 14%. In this area, where congestion seems to get worse day by day, those extra few minutes to arrive can literally mean the difference between life and death,” he says.
“Becoming a Responder volunteer has helped me realise just how precious life is and has opened my eyes to the importance of this valuable service, which would be impossible to run without donations.”
“Having a designated Trust insured vehicle will make the Community First Responders more visible, enable us to carry pain relieving gas and air (entonox), save wear and tear on volunteers own vehicles and allow us to fit essential additional equipment into the car, making our role much easier.”
“We are very grateful to all those who have supported our scheme, including Jardeen Motors Group, Rotary Club Lodden Vale, Zotterdeli, Elite Wheels & Tyres, The Earley Charity, The Lottery Fund, SFL Woodley, Community First, Southern Fried Chicken, Lions Reading, Reading Free Masons and many individuals.”