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Your chance to sign up to save lives

14 August 2012

Press release

For immediate release Tuesday 14 August 2012
For further information Derek Masterton
Contact number  0141 891 4016 or 07818 457589

Your chance to sign up to save lives

The British Red Cross and the Scottish Ambulance Service are recruiting volunteers for a lifesaving service in Drummore in Galloway.

The first responder scheme will support the ambulance service in making sure that specific types of 999 calls get as fast a response as possible.

All volunteers will be specially trained under the guidance of the Scottish Ambulance Service to provide basic life support and to use a defibrillator.

Most of the call-outs will be to cases of chest pain and cardiac arrest. Highly trained emergency medical dispatch centre staff will decide when to call out a first responder and in every instance an ambulance will be deployed at the same time as the first responder.

The idea is that if the volunteer can reach the person needing help quicker than the ambulance, which might have a longer distance to travel, they can administer basic life support until the crew arrives.

James Jamieson, Red Cross senior service manager for emergency response and first aid, said: “It has been proven that if someone suffering cardiac arrest receives certain types of help within a specific time frame, their chances of survival are greatly enhanced. This is known as the chain of survival.

“The first responder scheme does not replace ambulances and the advanced early care that a highly trained crew can provide. Rather, it is a scheme that supports the Scottish Ambulance Service and improves a patient’s chances of survival by providing early life-saving treatment in the few minutes before the ambulance crew arrives.”

The Red Cross is already involved in several first responder schemes with the Scottish Ambulance Service.

Jennifer McGlashan, Community Development Officer for the Scottish Ambulance Service, said: “Speed of intervention can often be critical when responding to 999 calls.  The First Responder initiative creates an even faster response for patients and is co-ordinated with our existing ambulance resources.  In a medical emergency it is often the simple first aid skills, like making sure an airway is clear, that save a life.

“The programme is an enhancement to our existing ambulance resources and each scheme works locally with our staff to ensure ongoing refresher training in basic life saving skills and the use of medical equipment. In recent years, advances in technology have been made, and many interventions, which were previously performed only by health care professionals are now available to lay people such as community first responders.  These include small, easy to operate 'external defibrillators' (Shock Boxes) and lightweight oxygen delivery systems.”

James Jamieson added: “First responder schemes offer volunteers the opportunity to play an important role within their communities. Quite literally, they can make a life or death difference.”

Anyone interested in volunteering for the first responder scheme can find out more by coming along to an open night being held at Drummore Community Hall from 8pm on Wednesday 22 August.

For further information on Red Cross first aid training and services,

ENDS

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Notes to Editors

The British Red Cross helps people in crisis, whoever and wherever they are. We are part of a global voluntary network, responding to conflicts, natural disasters and individual emergencies.

We enable vulnerable people in the UK and abroad to prepare for and withstand emergencies in their own communities. And when the crisis is over, we help them to recover and move on with their lives.

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