February 2011 Press Release
Mayfield and Ellastone Community First Responders have just completed another very busy year in 2010 saving lives in the Mayfield, Ellastone and Ashbourne areas. They turned out to 212 calls going as far afield as Cheadle and Oakamoor. A quarter of the call outs were for falls and accidents but responders also attended cardiac arrests, diabetic patients and many other life threatening illnesses.
First Responders are volunteers for West Midlands Ambulance and respond to 999 calls providing vital treatment in the first minutes, prior to the arrival of an ambulance crew. Mayfield and Ellastone has 16 active responders. Almost all are qualified to enhanced level meaning they can administer live saving drugs. ‘All our responders have to attend training throughout the year,’ explained Nicola O’Halleran, coordinator of the group. ‘We achieved a 100% pass rate in the recent demanding exams. The responders hold a BTEC level 3 award accredited by the Royal College of Surgeons. Staffordshire Responders are the most qualified of all responders in the country. Most of our responders are also highly qualified drivers having passed advanced motoring and ‘blue light’ driving courses.’
‘It is the groups aim to provide a 24 hour, 7 day a week cover going out in all conditions. In the recent bad weather our 4×4 vehicle was able to go places no ordinary ambulance could go. One call involved two of our group trekking through thigh deep snow drifts to reach a patient at an isolated farm house.’
Like all voluntary groups, Responders are affected by rising costs and falling grants. ‘We are entirely reliant on donations. The ambulance service trains us and provides us with the drugs and other consumables but we have to run and maintain our two vehicles. The insurance premium for one of our vehicles is over £2,500. We always welcome donations however small. We can easily get through £30 of diesel in a shift.’
Matt Heward, Community Response Manager and spokesman for West Midlands Ambulance Service said, ‘Our responders are fantastic and provide a much needed service in the rural areas. They know the local communities and can be there in minutes. They have saved countless lives. They work tirelessly without reward. A big thank you to them and their families for all the support they give.’
A new recruitment drive is about to begin. If you live in the area of Mayfield & Ellastone or in close proximity and are interested in responding with the group you can contact Nicola on 07968 599226 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also support the group with our various fund raising events, we are always looking for volunteers to help at such events. If you would like to be added to our list of volunteers, please let Nicola know and we will contact you when we are planning an event to see if you are available.