Amandine is a community first responder in Suffolk and mother to two young children. She first learnt about the scheme while browsing the internet while on holiday to visit family in France.
“I suddenly decided that I was going to help people around me but I really wanted to help people who were in distress and needed immediate aid. I did a first aid training in the past but I was very shy and it lasted only few hours. I started browsing the web and came across the community first responder’s website which described exactly what I was looking for.
“It said that I would use my own car, I’d be provided with all the equipment needed such as an oxygen bottle, some gloves, some bandages, a blanket, a defibrillator, some glucogel, a pulse oximeter and other things. I’d also would get free training to learn how to do CPR, how to use a defibrillator, what to do when you’re first on scene, what to ask, what to look for. The first step was to have a CRB check which took few weeks.
“Once it was sorted, I had to choose some dates for my training. After the training, which wasn’t too far from my town, I had the opportunity to go straight into the action by having a day out with the ambulance crew at a suitable date for me. It was very interesting and I gained some experience.
“About a week or two later, I started having a “buddy”, another community first responder with experience. This person would have the equipment (we call it the kit) and the phone and would call me straight after having the emergency call so I could join her at the scene with my own car. We’re not allowed to speed when driving to a call so I would get there by trying to remember the quickest way to get to the place without speeding. Of course, you have to remember if the town is having some work done at certain junctions then the traffic would be very slow or avoiding school pick-ups by taking a different street. Eventually, I got to know my town even better.
“After few times of having a buddy, I was ready to do it on my own. By talking to the team coordinator, I’m able to arrange some hours or days that are suitable for my busy family life. I have a very supportive partner who’s happy to keep an eye on the children while I’m on call. It doesn’t have to be at night too, you can choose the hours suitable for your own schedule. There’s a rota, changes could be made if someone has to cancel their day because something came up. We always make sure that someone is on call to cover the week, nights and weekend.”
Look out for Amandine’s next blog post when she talks about new year’s day on call coming soon.
For more about Community First Responder take over week which was launched to highlight the wonderful work of our volunteer life-savers and encourage more to join please visit http://www.eastamb.nhs.uk, our Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/EastEnglandAmbulance, Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/EastEnglandAmb or look out for the Twitter hash tag #CFRTakeover