First Responders wanted in Eastbourne

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Essential ambulance volunteers are needed in Eastbourne.

Eastbourne Ambulance Community First Responders is a charitable group of trained volunteers who respond to emergency calls for the South East Coast Ambulance Service and wants to increase its numbers in Polegate, Wannock, Willingdon and Old Town.

There will be a public meeting at St John’s Church Hall in Polegate High Street at 7pm on Friday October 26 for interested people to find out more.

Community First Responders are volunteers trained by the Ambulance Service to respond to certain emergency 999 calls on behalf of the ambulance service and each responder is equipped with a semi automated external defibrillator and other essential ambulance equipment.

The new group at Polegate will initially operate under the guidance and training of the adjoining Eastbourne Community First Responder Team who responded to more than 1,000 999 emergency calls last year.

Responders have to be over 18 years of age, trustworthy, reliable, able to remain calm in emergency situations, be caring when dealing with patients, physically fit and have access to a car.

They are called from home at a moment’s notice and some are also allowed by their employers to attend calls from their workplace.

All this is done on a voluntary basis.

Responders are automatically alerted by the ambulance service 999 control centre once the caller states the location and nature of the emergency.

David Watkins, from the Eastbourne Ambulance Community First Responders, said, “Because these volunteers are based within the community in which they live or work, they can attend the scene of an emergency within a few minutes and often whilst the caller is still on the phone.

“ Community Responders will provide treatment and care until the professional ambulance clinicians arrive.

“The neighbouring Eastbourne group was only formally started in September 2009 and its community responders have since attended nearly 3,000 calls and several people who were in cardiac arrest were resuscitated.

“Countless others were helped and their recovery improved by their responder’s actions.

“Most people need help from the ambulance service at some time in their life and that fast initial help will increasingly come from community first responders.”

Eastbourne Community First Responders have attended a total of 785 incidents so far in 2012.

The most recent figures show they attended 77 call-outs in September alone.