Wednesday, 1 August 2007

Community Responders - what are they?

Something I'll come back to again. A Community Responder is a volunteer managed by the Ambulance Service in his or her area. He or she will go to serious (life threatening) calls taken by Ambulance Control. "So what's the point of that? We have Ambulances. That's why we pay taxes" I hear you cry.

Well...Yes we do have Ambulances, but not one at every street corner. Where I live, for example (a good sized Town), there is one plus a Rapid Response vehicle. We're near the motorway and one accident there, or one serious incident in Town will leave us potentially uncovered - or at least covered by a vehicle several miles away. Our local Accident and Emergency hospital is not local - it's a 20-30 minute drive away at the best of time. If it gets backed up, the ambulances cannot unload, so are not free to respond.

Now, if you are having a Stroke or the start of a heart attack, you need treatment asap and one of the best treatments is Oxygen. If you are having a Cardiac Arrest (when your heart stops) you also need a defibrillator and you need it now. Realistically, if you have a Cardiac Arrest, you need defibrillating the sooner the better, but within 4-5 minutes to stand any chance of a decent recovery.

Enter the Community Responder. The Responder lives or works locally, will go mobile the same time as a crew and will try to legally (no flashing lights, no speeding, no privileges) get there before the crew and commence treatment. Minutes and seconds can mean life or death to a patient, or at least a better chance of a full recovery.

So what does this have to do with British Visitor? Well, whether you are a local or a Tourist, should you call 999 for an ambulance, it is possible that you get a Community Responder first. He or she will always be followed by an Ambulance and are fully trained in the use of Oxygen and a defibrillator. It's not a 'dumbing down' of the service, it is an add-on, a supplement to the normal course of treatment. In Tourist-centric areas they are kept very busy during the summer months.

If you want to know more, click on the link on the left. If you use the Contact form to contact the scheme, it will come through to me and I will endeavour to answer any questions that you may have.

This has been a Public Service Broadcast on behalf of the Responder Party.

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