December 5 2013 Latest news:
Wednesday, August 14, 2013
An increase in the number of community first responders (CFRs) covering Great Yarmouth and Gorleston means more lives can be potentially be saved in the busy summer season.
At the start of this year, there were only two volunteer CFRs giving up their time to work in partnership with the East of England Ambulance Service on the east coast.
Now, at the height of the holiday season when they are most needed, there are 10 trained responders on call.
Michael Paine, Yarmouth’s CFR coordinator, said the rise in recruits will make a real difference but there is still a need for new members.
The group would like more volunteers based in Yarmouth to ensure patients on both sides of the river can be reached in good time. It is also raising money to buy a car and buy more life-saving equipment.
Last month CFRs in Norfolk were called to almost 500 emergencies, from patients who had suffered falls, were unconscious or suffering from breathing problems and chest pains.
Mr Paine, whose father died after suffering a heart attack in rural Suffolk, said a fast response can make the difference between life and death. But, with increased summer and holiday traffic, it can take CFRs 30 minutes or more to travel from Gorleston to Yarmouth.
“With most major medical emergencies there is little anyone can do until the arrival of an ambulance or paramedic,” said 47-year-old father-of-two Mr Paine, of Church Lane, Gorleston.
“The exception is heart attacks where basic life support can make the difference between life and death. For every minute your heart is stopped, your chance of survival goes down by 10 per cent.
“The average response time for a CFR is three minutes. But if you’re coming from Gorleston and you’ve got to get across the river at the busiest time of year, it is going to take a lot longer.”
“When my father had a heart attack it took about 15 or 20 minutes for the ambulance to get there.
“I’m not saying he would still be here if it was different, but I know we cannot always rely on the ambulance crews to be everywhere at once.
“We have to help and, for me, being a CFR is very rewarding.”
•To find out more about Yarmouth CFRs or the Coastal Villages CFRs, visit www.respondersuk.org/norfolk or email firstname.lastname@example.org.