Community First Responder volunteers support from PPSCT

Pensford, Publow and the Stantons Community Trust has awarded a grant of £1000 to the two Community First Responder volunteers who serve the rural villages around the Chew Valley area.

Alex Easton and Kelly Griffin are those volunteer First Responders, working with the South Western Ambulance Service NHS Trust. They provide an invaluable service, being dispatched when an ambulance is unavailable or delayed following a 999 call. They attend many critical health situations such as cardiac arrest, and can make the difference between life and death, stabilising the patient until the paramedics attend.

Alex became the latest First Responder following his retirement from teaching Physics at the University of the West of England. Alex explained,

“I wanted a new and fulfilling challenge which contributed to the community. That opportunity arose when I met Kelly at a defibrillation event at Chew Magna School. She explained her First Responder role and I realised this was exactly the opportunity I was looking for. My application was accepted over a year ago, since when I have received comprehensive training through course attendance and working on 12 hour shifts with ambulance crews. The training is continuous so that our skills are maintained at very high standards.”

Andrew Hillman, Chairman of the Community Trust said,

“we were approached by Alex as he is trying to raise funds to purchase a second full medical kit at a cost of approximately £3500 which includes oxygen and defibrillation as used by paramedics. The Ambulance Service will only provide one shared kit and this clearly means that only one volunteer can be on duty at any time.  With well-publicised pressure on the ambulance service and our rural location being pretty remote from surrounding hospitals, timely response by paramedics cannot always be guaranteed. It seemed to the Trustees that having two fully kitted Community First Responders is absolutely essential for our residents”

Andrew went on to say that,

“the Trustees were impressed by the level of personal sacrifice Alex and Kelly make for our communities. These volunteers commit chunks of their life to being available to help us in an emergency, attend regular retraining courses and if that were not enough they also cover all their own fuel costs whether attending a patient or a training course.”

During the last year Alex and Kelly have attended somewhere if the region of 120 medical emergencies across the area. The Christmas and winter period is exceptionally busy as ambulances can become backed up waiting to handover patient care to A&E Departments which means that they are essentially out of action. Alex said,

“we have specifically supported the Community Trust villages of Pensford and Stanton Drew during the last year, with 2 very recent attendances to the latter.”

Andrew Hillman and Sue Osborne, also a Trustee, presented Alex with a cheque.

Andrew and Sue presenting Alex Easton (centre) with a cheque for £1000. Photo © Ros Anstey.

Andrew finished by saying ,

“I hope that residents and Parish Councils will add to the Community Trust grant so that a second kit bag can be purchased and brought into use as soon as possible . Alex and Kelly need the flexibility to be on duty at the same time whenever possible.”

If you would like to make a donation to the Community First Responder medical kit fund please do contact us and we will put you in touch with Alex Easton.