It’s a very busy day for us. Nearly 2,0

It’s a very busy day for us. Nearly 2,000 calls so far – nearly 20% above what we’d see in a four-week average. More about It’s your call & using 999 right here:http://www.eastamb.nhs.uk/your-service/campaigns/its-your-call.htm http://ow.ly/i/mpaec

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Guest blog: There have been so many highlights being a CFR

David Halsey, of Haverhill, Kedington and Hundon Community First Responders, said…

David Halsey resized

I have been a responder for five years, on average I do 96 hours per month.  I became a responder as I was diagnosed with an illness, and at the same time I saw an advert asking for responders. I felt that I could give my time to support the community and for people that needed help.

The highlight was the first heart attack patient I attended. He was having clear symptoms of a heart attack and then went into cardiac arrest in front of me and the paramedic. We got the patient back with one shock and then went off to hospital. Four weeks to the day I got called back to the same patient having chest pains and was able to give the ambulance crew a full history of the patient. Three years later I was fundraising in the town centre when I got a tap the back and this voice said ‘I want to shake your hand and say thank you for saving my life’.

There have been so many highlights, but it has to be when you get stopped in the street or supermarket and thanked for what you have done.

The most challenging aspect has to be when you on call and you are so busy having to go from one call to another, the upside is you know that the Trust is busy and you are able to help them best you can. The most challenging can be the lack of sleep or sometimes food, especially when the phone goes off just as you are about to tuck into your dinner.

The feeling and personal satisfaction that what you have done has potentially saved somebody’s life, that can’t be put into words but is the best feeling.

The East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) will be posting a blog from a CFR every day during national volunteers’ week, which runs until 12th June #volunteersweek #CFRtakeover

For more information, visit www.eastamb.nhs.uk

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Guest blog: There is a lot of satisfaction in helping people

Mike Poulton, a member of Wroxham and Hoveton CFRs, has volunteered for the last five years…

 

michael poulton.jpgOne day my wife noticed a CFR visiting one of our neighbours and she said “you could that”. It was as simple as that, so I contacted the local co-ordinator and the rest is history.

Normally I am on call for an average of just over 100 hours a month and I have attended over 400 calls, in addition I help with the training of new responders.

During the five years there have been many highlights, and a few low points, but if I had to choose one it would be the four year old girl who had dislocated her elbow at school.  I could do nothing about the pain except distract her and after finding her favourite book and asking her questions about it as we went through the pages together her distress gradually changed to smiles.

The main challenge is often finding the patient in the first place. In some areas where houses have no numbers, only names, it is difficult enough during daylight but at night it is almost impossible. Also holiday makers on boats often don’t realise that Hoveton exists, to them it’s all Wroxham and on a number of occasions we have arrived at moorings in Wroxham when in reality they on the other side of the river.

But for all that I would tell anyone thinking of becoming a first responder there is a lot of satisfaction in helping people and I don’t just mean the patient. Your presence before the backup arrives often helps the family.

The East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) will be posting a blog from a CFR every day during national volunteers’ week, which runs until 12th June #volunteersweek #CFRtakeover

For more information, visit www.eastamb.nhs.uk

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Guest blog: Being a CFR has taught me that not every patient will present the same

 

Danny Ayling, is a group co-ordinator for Holland/Clacton CFRs in Essex….

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I have been a CFR for three years, in the last year I have become a student paramedic so I try to do as many as I can, around 5+ hours a week.

A career in pre-hospital care was always a job I wanted. I became a CFR in the local area to provide immediate care until the arrival of an ambulance crew.

Being a CFR has taught me that not every patient will present the same and how to deal with difficult situations that caused me to think outside the box.

In the two years prior to starting my course I had seen 100+ patients some who had fallen to those who had a cardiac arrest and required CPR and defibrillation. I was able to take my knowledge, skills and understanding to university and build upon those.

I have had many highlights. As a team we were able to place a community public access defibrillator at a local store. Working within a team to provide the best care to patients who have suffered a cardiac arrest, being able to pass my knowledge on to fellow responders in the group, and setting up Heartstart courses to local people have been other highlights.

I have found trying to recruit new volunteers challenging as well as providing the maximum time we can cover in the area.

For volunteering as little as five hours a week you are providing an extra resource in your area for those time critical patients. In those five hours you could help make the difference between a life lost and a life saved.

The East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) will be posting a blog from a CFR every day during national volunteers’ week, which runs until 12th June #volunteersweek #CFRtakeover

For more information, visit www.eastamb.nhs.uk

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Guest Blog: I absolutely love volunteering

Claire Taylor, 26, is a PA in Cambridge by day and is a CFR in Ely in her spare time…

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I became a volunteer in May 2014 and on average I volunteer for around 20 hours a month.

I wanted to know that if anyone in my family or anyone around me became suddenly unwell, I would know what to do to help.  I also wanted to feel like I could make a difference.

I absolutely love volunteering. I meet some fantastic people and have a great team. The best highlight I have had so far is having a patient in cardiac arrest and being able to resuscitate them.  There is no feeling better on earth than the happiness knowing you have given someone more time.

Some calls can be challenging for different reasons, when I first started attending calls I had to tell myself to not panic everything would be okay and I wouldn’t forget what to do.  It comes naturally even when I panicked about the call.

Some calls can be upsetting but in the back of my mind I know just being there can help someone a little, it might not be actually helping the patients, but talking and comforting their families can be very beneficial.

There are more rewards than you think and the skills you will learn are amazing. I like knowing that if something serious happens, I can deal with it until help arrives. I volunteer in the evenings when I’m watching television or doing the house work so it fits in well and I don’t notice the hours I put in.  It’s more of a hobby than volunteering.

The East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) will be posting a blog from a CFR every day during national volunteers’ week, which runs until 12th June #volunteersweek #CFRtakeover

For more information, visit www.eastamb.nhs.uk

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Guest blog: Making a difference when people are at their most vulnerable

Sharon Smith is the  co-ordinator of Newgate Street CFRs, in Hertfordshire….

Sharon Smithresized

I became a CFR in December 2014 and I average 75 hours a month and attend on average one patient a week. It’s not a big time commitment.

I live in a remote village a long distance from hospitals and I wanted to be able to help in a local emergency.

I’ve met some amazing patients and their families. I have received some lovely feedback either personally or through villagers about how my presence calmed during a very stressful time. You get a real sense of achievement that you’re making a difference when people are at their most vulnerable.

Of course not every patient interface ends with happy news. I have attended cardiac arrests and despite best effort not every patient can be saved. It’s inherent with the role when you are dealing with the most life critical patients.

Being a CFR has given me a real sense of achievement in helping people in my community at a very stressful moment in their lives.

Most patients I visit are within 3-4 miles of where I live so I can get there really fast. An ambulance is always on its way to back me up.

It’s a wonderful role. Training is comprehensive so you don’t need any medical background. Give it a go. It’s worthwhile and it’s helping your community.

The East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) will be posting a blog from a CFR every day during national volunteers’ week, which runs until 12th June #volunteersweek #CFRtakeover

For more information, visit www.eastamb.nhs.uk

 

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Guest blog: Just doing the little thing can make the biggest difference

Adrian Garnham is a volunteer with Stutton & Holbrook Community First Responders in Suffolk…

Adrian Garnham resized

 

When I first started as a responder, I was working full-time in Ipswich as a bus driver so I would book on during my time off, usually about 10 hours per day and then 24 hours on my days off.

Since I left the job and became a full-time carer for my wife, I am usually on call 24 hours a day, averaging 500+ hours per month since November 2015.

From June 1999 until Dec 2012, I had been a volunteer police officer in Ipswich. When I left in 2012, I had risen to the rank of Special Inspector. At the time of leaving, I had started the CFR scheme in Stutton. I became a CFR after having to call an ambulance for my wife when she became ill. While waiting for the ambulance to arrive, I had cause to call a further three times and it eventually arrived nearly four hours after the initial call. It transpired that it had been sent to another village with a similar sounding name on the other side of the county. After doing some inquiring as to why there was not any sort of emergency medical care closer, I found out about the CFR scheme and decided to apply. As they say, the rest is history.

My highlight would probably be the nomination for the Town 102 FM Local Heroes Award in 2014. I was the winning recipient in the 999 category.

The most challenging aspect is being fairly new to the area and getting to know where the locations were when calls came in. Raising funds for the purchase of equipment and recruiting other responders is the hardest part of all.

Even if someone can only spare six hours a week, that is six hours that could help to save someone’s life. In today’s way of life, everything is geared to money, earning it, spending it or saving it. No one seems to want to do something for nothing. Becoming a volunteer, not just for the EEAST, can give you a great deal of satisfaction, knowing you have done something to help others that might be in need. A volunteer doesn’t have to climb mountains, run marathons or jump from aeroplanes trying to raise money for various causes, just doing the little thing can make the biggest difference.

The East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) will be posting a blog from a CFR every day during national volunteers’ week, which runs until 12th June #volunteersweek #CFRtakeover

For more information, visit www.eastamb.nhs.uk

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