Volunteers sign up to help save lives
LIVES could be saved when a town gets its own crew of first responder volunteers.
The scheme was launched on Saturday after a £3,750 donation from the Rotary Club of Kidsgrove meant the team could purchase a vehicle to respond to emergency calls.
The service – the first Staffordshire partnership of its kind between St John Ambulance and the West Midlands Ambulance Service – is due to go live in January.
Kidsgrove Community First Responders will treat people who live within a seven-mile radius of the town, while paramedics are scrambled.
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Ian Davies, assistant commissioner of St John Ambulance in Staffordshire, said: "After many months in the planning, the community first responder scheme will be manned by St John Ambulance volunteers in partnership with West Midlands Ambulance Service. Our volunteers will have received advanced training by the ambulance service and will be able to provide the vital link of life support until the arrival of an ambulance resource."
The team will work like other first responder schemes in the county but will have extra support from St John Ambulance.
Any 999 call from the Kidsgrove area will be passed to a volunteer, who will aim to respond to calls within six minutes. An ambulance will also be alerted.
Eight volunteers from the Newcastle division of St John Ambulance are in place to operate the first responders team, but it is hoped more people will come forward so the scheme can be manned around the clock.
One of the volunteers, Pat Hancock, will be joined by her son Paul and daughter Tracy.
Pat, a clerical assistant, of Clough Hall Road, Kidsgrove, who has been a St John Ambulance volunteer for 15 years, said: "Between us, we hope to be able to get the car out as much as we can. The more people we get, the more we can do that."
Tracy, an accident and emergency nurse, from Talke, said: "I want to help the local community and give some assistance to the ambulance service, which I know is under pressure as well.
"It's a nice feeling to be able to give something back."
The Kidsgrove scheme came about when former president of the rotary club Barry Fisher approached local businesses with a view to raising funds for a defibrillator early last year.
Current president Ralph Rhodes said: "We have been able to collect so much that we could afford to purchase the vehicle which will now be used by St John Ambulance volunteers as part of the scheme.
"We are very pleased with the response of the Kidsgrove public in giving so generously."
For more information about joining St John Ambulance or the community first responders, call 01785 257124 or email email@example.com