Lifesaving first response team needs volunteers

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A lifesaving community group which supports the work of the ambulance service is looking for volunteers in Knaresborough and Starbeck.

The Community First Responders (CFRs) are called out to 999 calls along with paramedics and, being based locally, they are often first on the scene.

The service is made up entirely of volunteers and now the local group, covering Knaresborough and much of Starbeck, is looking for new help.

“When a 999 emergency call comes in to the Knaresborough or Starbeck area, we are contacted as well,” said Nigel Threlfall, one of three co-ordinators who helps to run the group.

“We have the equipment in the car and they ask us to go out. Whoever gets their first, us or the paramedics, starts treatment.”

There are nine responders in the team, all who have been given basic medical training after signing up as volunteers.

“We are often called out to heart attacks, strokes, things like epileptic fits,” said Mr Threlfall.

“The idea is that if we’re in the local area, we can get there quickly. If we get their first we can start treatment.

“We use our own cars and carry the basic equipment, defibrillators, oxygen tanks, and try to give basic life support.”

The CFR scheme has been running nationally for some time to help support the ambulance service and has proved a huge success.

The training the volunteers are given means they can help keep patients alive or even just make them more comfortable while waiting for an ambulance to arrive.

In the past year the Knaresborough and Starbeck volunteers received 111 call-outs, Mr Threlfall himself responding to five last Saturday alone.

Volunteers can choose what days they work and have a full say in what they can commit to the scheme.

“We are made up of volunteers who can give up as much time as they are able,” said Mr Threlfall.

“We do a rota every month and everyone puts down the days they are available. You can put your name down for just one day at a time, or like me, for every weekend. It’s whatever you can do.

“We try and cover most days but there are a few gaps at the moment as we are short of volunteers.”

The CFR service is to hold an open day next Thursday, August 9, to try and recruit more volunteers.

The open day is to be held at Knaresborough Fire Station and volunteers will be on hand to offer advice and provide information for those members of the public who are interested in signing up to the CFR scheme.

The ambulance service has also made leaflets which members of the team are delivering to homes around Knaresbrough and Starbeck.

For more information about the open day or to find out about joining the CFR scheme, call co-ordinator Nigel Threlfall on 07950660803.