Now up and running for a year, Duns First Responders, the volunteer health group under the wing of the Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS), has provided a first level emergency service to 33 cases.
The Duns group’s chairman, Iain Lothian, attended a recent meeting of Duns Rotary Club to tell members about their work.
Iain demonstrated the defibrillator used by the group for training purposes on a willing, if somewhat anxious, Rotarian before explaining that this particular unit, because it was for training, did not in fact have the capacity to deliver the defibrillating shock, only the warning that it was coming!
Having grabbed the Rotarians’ attention with this ploy he then went on to explain how the group’s on-call volunteer, brought into action by the SAS operations room, was able to bring a faster first response to Duns and communities to its north and west in preparation for the follow-up by ambulance teams.
He explained that an early first response is crucial in many situations, particularly heart attacks, and this is what the group is able to deliver.
Although operating under the NHS, many of the costs of the service have to be met by the group themselves, through local fundraising.
The NHS jackets are essential to enable the service to be operated but have to be bought, and Iain thanked members for the club’s donation last year because it enabled the First Responders to start their service much earlier than if they had had to fundraise for the jackets.
Duns Rotary president John Marjoribanks said it was good to hear of the excellent progress of such a worthwhile local service.