Were you aware that there are people in the village who may turn up to help you should you call for an ambulance? We are known as Community First Responders or CFR’s.
What are Community First Responders?
We are people who all have an interest in caring and supporting those of you that are experiencing medical emergencies that require an ambulance crew to assess you.
From the recent news reports you will be aware of the increasing workload of the Ambulance Trust so we are here to help with certain emergency treatments to support you until they arrive.
CFR’s originally were brought together in order to provide CPR and defibrillation to those people who were reported to have suffered a cardiac arrest but our remit has gradually extended to include anyone who may have chest pains, shortness of breath, breathing difficulties, suspected strokes (CVA/TIA) or fitting but even this list is the shortened version.
All CFR’s are fully vetted by the Ambulance Trust. We all have DBS checks and are cleared by Occupational Health. The original training lasts 3 days and has assessments that have to be passed before we can start responding. We then do a shift with an Ambulance crew to see how they work and experience the reality before we really get going! Then finally we ‘buddy’ with an experienced CFR for a few shifts before being ‘out there’ on our own.
Even then, that’s not the end of it! There are training evenings every month of which six a year have to be attended. We all have to go through reassessment every year, which is based around scenarios and then every three years we do a complete reassessment including written papers.
Not only are we here to help but we also raise funds for our group. All our equipment and uniforms are paid for through fund raising.
The group has actually been up and running for about ten years. Originally there were three Responders but they gradually reduced to one who has been working alone for about four years but we are so pleased to now have four in the team and the ability to raise our profile once more.
We would always welcome anyone who is interested in joining us. The more cover we can provide to the residents of Littleport, the better!
Donation from DA Construction!
We recently received a donation from D A Construction and Joinery in Littleport which covered the cost of an essential piece of equipment that we have been without for a couple of years now, so we are extremely grateful to Alan and his team and are looking forward to meeting up with them when it arrives to express our gratitude.
Any assistance anyone can offer with fund raising, again, please let us know. We are currently looking to raise funds for uniform – tops, trousers and fleeces and an updated defibrillator.
Invite us to talk
We plan to attend as many community events as we can so you can get used to seeing us, so please feel free to invite us. We are keen to promote CPR awareness and are willing to come and teach or present to those of you that are interested. We have a Facebook page (please have a look and give us a ‘like’) and we are also members of the Littleport Notice Board so can pick up messages from there too. Please think of us when planning any awareness events as we would love to come along and either teach or give a talk about what we do or what we offer as Responders.
We also work very closely with the Ely Responders so there is occasionally some ‘cross border’ working so please look out for them.
Should you call for an Ambulance and a responder appears on your doorstep, please welcome them, they are here to help. They will be wearing a high visibility vest jacket and be carrying East of England Ambulance Trust photographic Identification which you should inspect before allowing them entry to your house. They will also be carrying very distinctive Ambulance kit bags.
There are currently four responders who provide cover for as many hours as possible despite their own busy schedules.
Introducing ourselves to you.
Barbara Knott – CFR, Littleport Group Co-ordinator, South Cambridgeshire group trainer and Cambridgeshire representative on the Volunteer Advisory Forum.
Sounds a mouthful but I have been a volunteer in the village for eight years and took on the role of Co-ordinator seven years ago.
By day I’m a Resuscitation Officer at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital King’s Lynn. I have been a nurse for 33 years and have been working with the Ambulance Trust in both a teaching and responding role for many years. I previously responded for my Community when working and living in Kent.
I have lived in the village for almost nine years after relocating from Kent so my husband could work as a Paramedic based out of Ely.
We are both passionate about providing good patient care so we both work closely with the Responders and support their training running the monthly sessions in Soham for Littleport, Ely, Soham, Witchford, Wicken and Cottenham to name just some of the other groups within what is known as the ‘Ely Cluster’.
Ryan Hart – CFR
I have been responding for around six months now and also respond for the busy Further Education College in Cambridge where I work.
Being a responder has shown me just how important it is to be there to help within the first few minutes of a ‘999’ call, whether it be as simple as reassurance or by providing oxygen for chest pains or breathing issues. Working with the Responders has been amazing and it’s very reassuring knowing that there are others out there who are as likeminded as myself.
I’m a carer and also work for a pharmacy. I haven’t been a CFR for very long although I have been interested for a long time. I became ‘active’ just after Christmas and have been doing some ‘buddy’ shifts with Ryan.
I like helping people when they aren’t at their best, which sounds a bit strange but I like to feel I can be a calming, reassuring presence when someone is feeling particularly anxious, stressed or vulnerable when unwell. I look forward to helping and meeting people in the local area not just when unwell but at awareness and fund raising events.
I moved to Littleport almost 1 year ago with my partner and baby daughter. I’m a big supporter of the CFR scheme and wanted to get involved to give something back to the community in which I and my family live. I have been involved in first aid since the age of 12. I have also served with the Royal Air Force and the Territorial Army.
I have a caring nature and like to help others.
You won’t have actually seen me in a responder role as yet as I only qualified just after Christmas and am waiting to do my initial Ambulance shift, but I look forward to getting out there as soon as possible.
Richard is the person behind our Facebook page and has recently been the point of contact with D A Construction and Joinery Ltd who donated the funds for our new piece of equipment.
So please, keep a look out for us around the village, and on your doorstep should you need help.