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North Norfolk first responder tells community “stay inside”

PUBLISHED: 14:08 28 February 2018 | UPDATED: 14:08 28 February 2018

A Stalham First Responder enjoying the snow with his family. Picture: Tim Thirst

A Stalham First Responder enjoying the snow with his family. Picture: Tim Thirst

Tim Thirst

A first responder from north Norfolk has a simple message for members of the rural community: stay inside.

The team from Stalham first responders has been pleasantly surprised by the lack of call-outs they’ve had in the freezing temperatures, and attribute this largely to the public staying indoors.

Tim Thirst has been a first responder for 10 years, and said: “People should stay inside unless it’s absolutely necessary.

“I think we’re also having less calls because people aren’t at work, so can stay at home to look after elderly relatives and neighbours.”

Thanks to his more relaxed schedule, Mr Thirst was able to enjoy the snow with his daughter Jasmine.

Mr Thirst added: “Although it hasn’t been manic for me necessarily, we have had other call outs across the county to incidents such as people falling over.”

The first responders’ work is predominantly to answer cardiac arrest calls, as the patient needs to be attended to within two minutes of suffering an arrest.

Mr Thirst, 65, added: “First responders are so important because in a rural area there can’t be an ambulance nearby for every emergency,

“There might be an ambulance within six or seven minute travel, but if that ambulance is on it’s way to the Norfolk and Norwich, the next one may be twenty minutes away.”

The Stalham and Smallburgh team currently have 12 volunteer first responders, and nine in training.

Mr Thirst, a father of two, continued: “A large part of our job now is also teaching other people CPR, so that if they witness a cardiac arrest they can do something until the first responders get there.

“We now go into schools, go to scouts groups, and the WI groups, to teach them CPR.

“A lot of lives are also being saved thanks to defibrillators being made more publicly available.”

It currently costs around £2,000 to get a first responder on the roads.

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