Community First Responders- The Volunteer Heroes on Your Street
Community First Responders (CFRs) and Co-Responders are volunteers ( do not get paid) who work alongside the ambulance service to help patients in emergency situations. They are our unsung heroes giving their time to help others.
Community First Responders (CFRs) are highly skilled and trained volunteers supported by South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SCAS). They help patients in their time of need whether it be a life-threatening emergency such as a cardiac arrest, heart attack, breathing difficulties, stroke or a less urgent condition such as a non-injury fall or concern for welfare. Our volunteers are deployed by SCAS's Emergency Operations Centre to ensure the quickest possible help to our patients.
We do not receive NHS or other statutory funding to support our CFRs. We fundraise to provide all of their equipment, training, uniform and vehicles that enable them to save lives. CFRs really are the heroes on your street, close at hand should you need them. They are out in their communities all year round and throughout the current pandemic to ensure we can deliver the best possible patient care.
It currently costs £310 a year per responder to maintain the equipment our CFRs use. We have over 1200 CFRs, medical students, military, police and fire Co-responder across Oxfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Hampshire. We are regularly recruiting new CFRs to expand our cover especially in rural areas and it costs us £2,000 to fully kit out a new responder.
However you choose to support our volunteers this year, thank you.
Save a Heart - Surviving Cardiac Arrest
Imagine this…working on a frontline ambulance and being sent to a cardiac arrest in a small village in the middle of nowhere. You arrive on scene and the patient is in full cardiac arrest and requires treatment at a specialist Cardiac Unit.
Now imagine trying to carry out cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in the back of an ambulance, travelling at speed, trying to maintain an adequate rate and rhythm as you weave in and out of traffic for as long as 20 minutes.
Hard to imagine isn't it? And yet that is the reality for many of our ambulance service colleagues when faced with a patient in cardiac arrest.
A LUCAS device is a mechanical chest compression device that can deliver safe and effective chest compressions with a consistent depth of 5.3cm and a continual rate of 102 beats per minute. This means that blood circulation is maintained at a regular level which leads to increased brain/tissue perfusion which will mean less neurological damage in the long term.
Having a LUCAS device in place also frees up the paramedic with the patient, reducing the stress in the back of the ambulance, and increasing safety with the crew member able to remain seated and belted while completing observations, maintaining airways and giving drugs to the patient in transit.
Watch a LUCAS device in action: *https://bit.ly/3bdOUCj*
A LUCAS device can remain in place for extended periods of time, for example when a patient has been submerged in water. CPR has to continue until the patient's body temperature has returned to a normal 37 degrees, a process which can take hours and would be an impossible task without a LUCAS device.
Some years ago SCAS was able to source the older LUCAS 2 devices but these are now more than 10 years old and in need of constant repair and we still don't have enough of them. We are now seeking funds to purchase 28 new LUCAS 3 devices to support operational crews across Oxfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Hampshire. LUCAS 3 devices cost £10,000 each so this is a major project for us but one we believe is of the utmost importance if we are to increase the survival rates of our patients with out of hospital cardiac arrest. Can you help?