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.
They 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.
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.