Survivor tells of rescue as Norfolk's medical charity has record year
- Credit: Sonya Duncan
When Reepham painter Kevin Bird started feeling pains in his chest he knew something was wrong.
And it is only thanks to the volunteer service NARS that he is still alive today after going into cardiac arrest when he was working at a house in Ringland in 2019.
Mr Bird, who was 61 when it happened, said: "My eyes rolled back in my head and I stopped breathing.
"By the time the ambulance got there I'd already gone into cardiac arrest. I don't think I would have made it without them."
Shortly before it the episode Mr Bird managed to call his wife, Rachel, who called for an ambulance.
NARS first responder Steve Maddams was the first to arrive, and treated Mr Bird until more help came. He said: "The chance of survival from an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, is between 7-10pc, so to get somebody Kevin back from that is absolutely priceless.
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"A lot of our guys have full-time jobs and in their days off they give up their time for NARS, to help save lives, for the people of Norfolk."
NARS had a record year in 2020, being called out to 1,721 life-threatening medical emergencies, up from 985 in 2019.
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This included 263 cardiac arrests and 76 road traffic collisions. NARS first responders who are trained in giving basic life support attended 1,062 of the calls, which was up 50pc on the previous year.
Peter Smalley, chief operating officer of the Dereham-based charity, said: “I am hugely proud of the dedication our volunteers have shown in 2020 giving up their spare time to help the people of Norfolk especially with the Covid-19 pandemic putting additional pressure on the NHS”.
NARS is funded entirely by donations but the coronavirus lockdowns meant its fundraising had to stop, nearly overnight.
In partnership with the EDP, the charity launched a an appeal for much-need funds for PPE for its first responders. That appeal, alongside a £15,000 made for an 'Over The Rainbow' event run by the Potters Friends Foundation, have helped keep NARS operational during the pandemic.
To donate to NARS and help keep Norfolk’s medical charity operational in 2021 go to www.nars.org.uk or call 01362 698007.