First Responders Group a year old

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AS well as celebrating the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, another occasion was marked in Greenlaw at the weekend, the first birthday of the village’s First Responders Group.

Volunteers completed their training in the early part of last year and since then have been a valuable asset to Greenlaw and the surrounding community, being on hand to help those suffering from breathing difficulties and chest pains should paramedics not be available.

The group held a coffee morning on Saturday to give residents and local councillors the chance to meet the group and founder Amanda Laughlan said she couldn’t believe the First Responders had been up and running for a year already but said they were always looking for new recruits.

“We’ve got 12 first responders in the group at the moment, covering a mixture of ages from retired people, to people in full time jobs and the self-employed; people just put themselves on the rota when they’re available. We’d welcome any new starters and the only provisos for people wanting to join up are that they’re over 18 and able to drive as we have to cover a three mile radius.

“It doesn’t seem like year since we had our weekends of intensive training when we learnt how to use a defibrillator and were authorised to administer oxygen. I wouldn’t say we’re called out too often but there’s been a few occasions where we’ve been needed and everyone’s coped fantastically.”

Since starting up, the First Responders have recived funding from Awards for All which they have put towards uniforms - “I think it’s important that we are instantly recognisable,” Amanda added - and two training mannequins so they can practice their skills at monthly sessions.

Amanda continued: “Where we’re at in Greenlaw we are right in between ambulance stations at Chirnside and Kelso so if one from Chirnside is rushed to somewhere near Edinburgh and the Kelso one is attending an incident in Galashiels, it could be hours before one could get to Greenlaw so that’s where we come in.

“We received a lot of help from our local training co-ordinator, Dave Dixon, who is based at Chirnside Ambulance Station and he continues to assist us with our training.”

The Greenlaw First Responders hold their training sessions in the Masonic Hall on the last Wednesday of every month at 7pm. Anyone who is interested in joining up should contact Dave Dixon and be prepared to take part in a mini-interview.