Responder group gets boost from bowlers

Cockburnspath and Oldhamstocks Community First Responder Group  receiving a donation from their local Bowling Club of �250 raised by the raffling of a Christmas Hamper
Cockburnspath and Oldhamstocks Community First Responder Group receiving a donation from their local Bowling Club of �250 raised by the raffling of a Christmas Hamper

Cockburnspath Bowling Club members donated the £250 raised by their Christmas raffle to their local Community First Responder Group.

Martin Galloway (Depute Co-ordinator) and Kate Tulloch (Co-ordinator) attended to receive the donation from David Watt, Club President, on Hogmanay.

Kate said that they were particularly grateful to the Bowling Club for allowing them free use of their facilities for their monthly training, and for this unexpected and very welcome donation. The funds will largely support the renewal of equipment required to maintain the Public Access Defibrillator in Cockburnspath and Oldhamstocks.

Martin added that it was a great example of community groups working together to support each other.

Since the launch of its Community First Responder initiative several years ago, the Scottish Ambulance Service has seen over 137 schemes established across Scotland, with new communities volunteering every week.

Under the scheme, the Scottish Ambulance Service train community volunteers in basic first aid and life saving skills so that they can deliver an early response to patients while the ambulance is on its way. The responders are deployed to appropriate calls by the ambulance services’ Ambulance Control Centre (ACC).

First responders are asked to attend serious and life threatening emergencies, such as breathing difficulties, chest pains, cardiac arrest or unconsciousness. They are not sent to road collisions or traumatic injuries or anything outwith their training.

An emergency ambulance is always dispatched first and the role of the responder is to support the patient while the ambulance is on its way, providing an important service that benefits the community.

Bryan Finlay, a paramedic with the Scottish Ambulance Service, said: “Speed of intervention can often be critical when responding to 999 calls.

“The First Responder initiative creates an even faster response for patients and is co-ordinated with our existing ambulance resources. In a medical emergency it is often the simple first aid skills, like making sure an airway is clear, that save a life.

“The programme is an enhancement to our existing ambulance resources and each scheme works locally with our staff to ensure ongoing refresher training in basic life saving skills and the use of medical equipment. In recent years, advances in technology have been made, and many interventions, which were previously performed only by highly trained individuals, are now available to people with much less training. These include small, easy to operate ‘external defibrillators’ (Shock Boxes) and lightweight oxygen delivery systems.”

Anyone interested in becoming a Community First Responder in the South East Division of Scotland, should contact b.finlay@nhs.net or call 0131 344 5909.