Thanks to the combined generosity of people, businesses and charities in the Reading area, a new rapid response vehicle for South Central Ambulance Community First Responders in Whitley has officially been launched.
The vital rapid response vehicle, a brand new Land Rover Freelander 2, will carry potentially life-saving equipment and the transportation required for volunteers to reach the scene of an emergency as quickly as possible. It will cover the south of Reading and will be coordinated by the South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SCAS).
£25,000 has been raised by sponsors and supporters for the scheme already, but whilst SCAS are to provide training, equipment and ongoing support, the service will rely on charitable donations and volunteers to keep it going. Volunteers come from all walks of life and operate on a rota system from their own home or place of work.
Community First Responder (CFR) volunteers are trained in basic life-saving skills that can be administered in immediately life-threatening emergencies, such as cardiac arrest, diabetic emergency, unconscious patients, breathing difficulties and seizures.
CFR and local businessman Andrew Withers gave his take on the new scheme, explaining how CFRs can often be on the scene within 5 minutes and start immediate, often lifesaving treatment before the nearest available ambulance crew arrives.
‘In the case of cardiac arrest, for example, every minute that passes without cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and defibrillation, reduces a patient’s chances of survival by 14%.’
‘Becoming a responder volunteer has helped me realise just how precious life is and has opened my eyes to the importance of this valuable service, which would be impossible to run without donations.’
‘Having a designated Trust insured vehicle will make the CFRs more visible, enable us to carry pain-relieving gas and air (entonox), save wear and tear on volunteers’ own vehicles and allow us to fit the essential additional equipment into the car, making our role much easier.’
‘We are very grateful to all those who have supported our scheme, including Jardine Motors Group, Rotary Club Lodden Vale, Zotterdeli, Elite Wheels & Tyres, The Earley Charity, The Lottery Fund, SFL Woodley, Community First, Southern Fried Chicken, Lions Reading, Reading Free Masons and many individuals.’
David Hamer, SCAS Community Responder Training Officer commented: ‘It’s great to see a plan become reality; Andrew has worked very hard on raising the funds for this vehicle and raising the profile of responding throughout the local community. I look forward to seeing this vehicle out and about helping the population in Shinfield and Whitley very soon. We need more responders in certain areas of Berkshire and would encourage anyone with an interest to contact us to discuss the opportunities available.’
If you are interested, simply contact the Community First Responder team on 0800 587 0207 or email them firstname.lastname@example.org and arrange an informal meeting to find out more.