Kirrie first responders launch to help save lives

FIRST RESPONDERS: Pictured in Kirrie Square are, from left:- back - Andy Findlay, Andy Rae, Liz Simpson and Bill Spence of St Johns; front - Amanda Alexander, Claire McIntosh and Ted Lardner.'Picture by photosonlocation.co.uk

FIRST RESPONDERS: Pictured in Kirrie Square are, from left:- back - Andy Findlay, Andy Rae, Liz Simpson and Bill Spence of St Johns; front - Amanda Alexander, Claire McIntosh and Ted Lardner.'Picture by photosonlocation.co.uk

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A life-saving project designed to provide faster response times in Kirriemuir has been launched by the Scottish Ambulance Service (writes Janet Thomson).

The Kirriemuir Community First Responder Scheme, run in partnership with the Order of St John, has already attracted a number of volunteers who have received training from the Scottish Ambulance Service.

The service has also supplied life-saving equipment which will be used initially by the volunteers on medical cases.

Murray McEwan, community resuscitation development officer for the Scottish Ambulance Service east central division, is in charge of setting up First Responder schemes in Fife, Forth Valley and Tayside. He explained the service has been introduced successfully in other areas, with the responders being despatched by the ambulance control room purely to medical cases.

He said: “Community First Responders are trained and equipped by the Scottish Ambulance Service to respond to life threatening emergency calls whilst the ambulance is on its way.

“They are trained by the Scottish Ambulance service in basic life support, the use of defibrillators, oxygen therapy, airway management and how to recognise and treat medical related emergencies.”

The Community First Responder Scheme is made up of volunteers who will commit to a period of being on call after being fully trained.

“When a 999 call comes in they will be despatched, where appropriate, by the control room.

“The First Responder Scheme goes to medical related emergency patients, including those who have collapsed, those with chest pains, those who have difficulty breathing or who have had a cardiac arrest. They don’t go to traumas or anything like that, it is purely medical related emergencies.

“The scheme has already been piloted in other areas and there are now over 150 Community First Responder Schemes throughout Scotland - and growing.

“They are saving lives. If there is a cardiac arrest scenario, every minute that goes by the chances of survival decreases by 10% if nothing is being done.

“The First Responders are simply enhancing the cover to the community. They don’t replace any ambulance resources. The ambulance control room has a number they phone to despatch the First Responders. They have their own transport and kit bag and can get to the scene within two to three minutes.”

The Kirriemuir team currently has seven volunteers, but Murray would like to hear from anyone willing to become involved.

For more information on the Community First Responder Service or becoming a First Responder please contact Murray McEwan on 07500 952 052 or mmewan@nhs.net