12 January 2012
A team of Red Cross ‘first responders’ – who help the emergency services react to medical emergencies in rural areas – have just celebrated their 3,000th call-out.
The team of seven volunteers – from Matlock in Derbyshire – are ready to turn out at a moment’s notice and provide life-saving first aid before paramedics arrive on the scene.
Simon Harris, from East Midlands Ambulance Service, said: “The first responders are a vital resource for reaching as many people as possible with life-saving first aid. It’s fantastic having volunteers available in the local area to respond.”
‘Hundreds of emergencies’
The first responders are trained in the latest first aid techniques, including using portable defibrillators to ‘restart’ a person’s heart following a cardiac arrest. They also have 4x4 vehicles to ensure they can reach people in more remote areas, whatever the weather.
Matlock resident Terry Gregory (64), along with wife Carol and daughter Nikki, has been a first responder since the partnership with East Midlands Ambulance Service began in 2000.
Terry recalled: “We’ve attended hundreds of call-outs, and there have been so many highlights over the years. One particularly memorable moment occurred last year when one of our team – Gavin Cantrill – got a call from the ambulance service saying someone had collapsed at a local rugby match.
“Gavin was nearby so headed straight there, and used a defibrilator several times to resuscitate the patient before he was transported to hospital by air ambulance.”
Terry added: ”The man made a full recovery and even ran a marathon this year. It’s wonderful to know our team helped saved his life, and to see him now with his wife and children doing so well. It could have been a very different story.”
The team never know when they are going to be needed next. Recently, Terry was called out by the ambulance service to help 78-year-old Gordon Smythe, a local resident who had just suffered a mini-stroke.
Gordon’s son, Steve Smythe (49), said: “When Terry arrived it was a huge relief. He performed some medical checks, kept an eye on my Dad and reassured us until the ambulance arrived. Thankfully, he’s doing fine now. I can’t praise Terry and the whole team enough, especially considering they do it all in their own time.”