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Saving lives in the community

Christmas is a time when we often remember family members who are no longer with us and think about how important all of our loved ones are.

Saving lives in the communityThey are the most precious things in the world, and we want to do all we can to protect them. This Christmas, we want to update you on all the life saving work we have been undertaking.

Every day hundreds of medical emergencies happen that are a matter of life or death; like cardiac arrests. The minutes immediately following a cardiac arrest are crucial, without cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) the brain will start to die within three minutes. Our hard working NHS ambulance crews do all they can to be there in a few minutes. But with services increasingly stretched this can be impossible, especially during the winter months, when harsh weather slows everything down.

Thankfully our Community First Responders (CFRs), like Rachel and Andrew, are always on call to make a lifesaving difference. They are sent by ambulance control, giving vital care in the critical minutes before an ambulance arrives. They are real life superheroes.

Lifesaving duo

CFRs Rachel and Andrew were delivering training in their local community when an alert came through of a cardiac arrest – three minutes later they were on the scene. A 53-year-old man had collapsed and his heart had stopped beating at a Taekwondo class in his local church hall.

A bystander was giving CPR via instructions over the phone from the Ambulance Service operations centre. Rachel and Andrew took over from the bystander and delivered one shock from their Automated External Defibrillator (AED) and carried on CPR. The patient started to show signs of making an effort to breath for himself, indicating that his heart was beating just as the first emergency service vehicle arrived.

By the time the patient left the scene he was awake and responding. He was taken to hospital where it was confirmed he’d had a massive heart attack. He’s since had surgery and it’s great to know he’s doing well.

Rachel told us, ‘I enjoy being able to give something back to my local community and know I have made a difference. Even when the call is not for a cardiac arrest, by just being there you can be a calming influence to someone in their time of need that makes all the difference to them.’

The stark reality is that just a small percentage of local communities in England are covered by CFRs. We urgently need to train and equip more CFRs right now.

A cardiac arrest can happen to anyone and every minute matters. The chance of survival falls by 10% every minute without action. Our CFRs are equipped with life saving equipment and are trained to give CPR and use a defibrillator. Using a defibrillator within three minutes of a cardiac arrest can increase the chance of survival by as much as 70%.

This is why CFRs are so important for local communities and over the past 12 months, our incredible CFRs have responded to over 10,000 Ambulance Service call outs. People they’ve helped during the most frightening time of their life.

With emergency services under so much pressure over the festive period, any contribution you make can help save a life.