The Prestwood Community First Responders (CFRs) are volunteers, trained by the ambulance service to respond to medical emergencies before an ambulance gets to the scene. CFRs might typically respond to reports of cardiac arrest, strokes, choking, unconscious patients and diabetic emergencies. You may well have seen the responders out and about in their new Fiat Panda which was funded by organisations and individuals from Prestwood and surrounding villages. In fact, many of you will have been part of that amazing fundraising effort.
To become a First Responder you don’t need any previous medical experience. The ambulance service provide training in the form of an intensive two day introductory course followed by a shift with an ambulance crew then another shift with a paramedic in a Rapid Response Vehicle. Six monthly re-qualification is required. There are also evening update sessions throughout the year to keep everyone up to date. Once qualified, a responder will be given a pager, mobile phone and an equipment kit which includes oxygen, defibrillator and trauma dressings. If they are the only responder in a particular area then they keep this equipment all the time and book on duty when they can, depending on work or family commitments.
A minimum commitment of 20 hours duty per month is asked for (most responders manage far more than this). If, as in the case in Prestwood, there is more than one responder, then the kit is passed to whoever is on duty. We cover a nominal six mile radius of the centre of the village. This of course takes in Great Missenden, The Kingshills, Hughenden Valley, South Heath, Ballinger and the Hampdens. On occasion we will be sent further afield, we have been to Chesham and Princes Risborough for instance. As there are only currently two Prestwood responders, we cover most days of the week between us (we cannot manage nights!) and expect on average one call a day. We relish the challenge of being first on scene but know that the professional ambulance crews will never be far behind. We get to work with all levels of clinical ambulance staff, including on occasion the Doctors and Paramedics of the air ambulance. In the worst case scenario, we can start resuscitation a vital few minutes earlier. At the very least we can provide the reassurance that help is there at a time of anxiety. It is great being community based as we often meet patients we have seen.
Part of our work is to source and keep an eye on our local public access defibrillators (AEDs). To date, we have been involved in the provision of the two in Prestwood (Village Hall and Wren Davis yard) and the latest one in Great Missenden (Chemist wall, entrance to Baptist Church).
We really do need more responders, so if you feel you could take on this role then have a look at the South Central Ambulance website where a section on Community First Responders will give you more information and direct you to the appropriate contact. If the clinical side is not for you, we also need more people like Anne to help with fundraising and publicity. This could mean organising attendance at local events or researching contacts for fundraising.
For further information, please contact Bob Davy on 01494 865682