Who are we?
We are a community-based, voluntary group affiliated to the East of England Ambulance Service, operating in and around Bentley, Capel St Mary and Tattingstone. We are despatched by the Ambulance Service to attend certain types of 999 calls, providing first aid and basic life support before an ambulance arrives.
Why are we needed?
In a rural community such as ours, it can take some time for an ambulance crew to arrive. In some cases such as a heart attack leading to cardiac arrest, without early intervention a patient’s chances of survival can decline by as much as 10% every minute. As our volunteers are based here in the community, we can get to an incident very quickly, providing vital first aid and basic life support before the ambulance arrives, considerably improving the patient’s chances of survival and recovery.
What do we do?
A Community First Responder is trained to provide first aid and basic life support, including CPR. We carry a comprehensive medical kit which includes an automated external defibrillator (AED) and oxygen delivery system.
Our First Responders arrange to go on call at specific times on a rota basis, in a similar way to other volunteer emergency services such as retained fire fighters or the RNLI. Each Responder registers their availability by logging on to our website. Whilst on call they carry the medical kit in their car and an ambulance service-issued mobile phone to alert them to any calls.
In the event of a 999 call made from this area, the control room will despatch an ambulance, and if it is appropriate, will also contact the on-duty First Responder, who will attend the incident from their home or workplace. Community First Responders are only sent to certain types of incident, typically chest pains, breathing problems, strokes, falls and diabetic cases. We are not sent to road traffic accidents, trauma injuries or paediatric cases (i.e. children under the age of 8).
Because First Responders are based here in the community, we can normally get to a patient before an ambulance arrives and begin providing treatment. First Responders are a valuable additional resource, but do not in any way replace existing ambulance services. The First Responder hands over to the ambulance crew as soon as they arrive on scene.
How can you help us?
We rely entirely on volunteers to give up their time to provide this valuable service. We urgently need more volunteers from Bentley, Capel St Mary and Tattingstone to join us and train as First Responders. The more volunteers we have, the more on-call time we can provide and the more patients we can help.
First Responders can be male or female, must be aged 18-70, have access to a car, be physically fit, have a caring nature and be able to work well within a team. You must also agree to a Criminal Records Bureau check.
No previous medical or first aid experience is required, you will receive all the training you need. You will receive an initial 2-day training course run by the East of England Ambulance Service, as well as regular ongoing refresher training.
You can provide as little or as much time on-call as you like, whenever you like, there are no minimum hours required. Even whilst on-call, you can still continue your daily activities. All we ask is that you stay within this area and be ready to go to a call at a moment’s notice.
Donate to Us
The East of England Ambulance Service provide our training, communications equipment and consumables such as oxygen, bandages etc. However, most of our funding, for items such as our medical equipment (an AED alone costs around £2000!), clothing for our Responders and running costs for our website, comes from charitable donations.
To find out more, apply to become a Responder, or make a donation, visit our website, bct.first.responders.org.uk, where you will find full contact details.
The next life we save could be yours!