Riseley community first responders (CFRs) marked a milestone this new year when they attended their 1,000th emergency call on 2 January.
CFRs are a team of volunteers who work alongside the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) to respond to situations within their local community.
All volunteers are trained by EEAST to deal with life-threatening situations, ranging from cardiac arrest, chest pains and stroke to fits, falls, breathing difficulties and severe diabetic attacks.
CFRs also carry an oxygen supply and defibrillator enabling them to deal with the patient immediately, and to continue doing so until paramedics arrive at the scene.
They responded to their first cardiac arrest on 15 August 2014, providing CPR and successfully reviving the patient before back-up arrived.
The five-strong Riseley team was established and trained in late 2012 and began responding to emergency calls across north Bedfordshire’s villages in January 2013.
During 2020, calls were attended in 27 villages around North Bedfordshire but as well as providing a first aid response, the team regularly delivers sessions on how to use a defibrillator and what to do when someone goes into cardiac arrest.
These sessions have been delivered to local villages, various groups such as Young Farmers, and clubs who have acquired their own defibrillators. They have also trained pupils at local schools in the use of defibrillators.
On 2 January 2021, the Riseley CFRs responded to the 1000th call.
Phil Cocks, Riseley CFR coordinator, said: “It’s a great achievement to have responded to 1,000 local patients and the group should be immensely proud of the support they provide, especially as they are all volunteers who give up their free time to provide this service to the community.
“First responders are a valuable part of the EEAST family, and it is good to know that there is that additional level of support out there for our patients when they need it most.
“We’re always looking for new CFRs to come and join us, whether in Riseley or elsewhere across the eastern region.”
Anyone who is interested in finding out more about becoming a CFR should email CFR@eastamb.nhs.uk.