Tuesday 2nd July 2013 – 10.10am – Chris Kowalik.
Martin Bennett is 56. He was a professional firefighter for ten years and worked for mountain rescue for 21 years. He has a degree from Swansea University in pre-hospital care, is currently studying for a post-graduate certificate in allergies and intends later to study for a Masters degree in clinical assessment.
His paid profession sees him teaching businesses First Aid and providing medical cover for organised events. Yet he still decides to spend much of his spare time volunteering to respond to medical emergencies, for he is a Community First Responder.
In 2005, he was one of more than a dozen people at Worcester ambulance station to attend the first ever Community First Responders training course conducted by the then Hereford & Worcester Ambulance Service. The course involved training with ambulance crews. Upon completion of the course and gaining his qualification he went ‘live’ and began to respond to medical emergencies at the behest of the ambulance service’s control room and while an emergency ambulance was en-route.
In his spare time, he puts himself ‘on-call’ for the ambulance service for around 250 hours a month. While waiting at home in Eardiston in Worcestershire for an emergency, he goes about his hobby of gardening and DIY. He attends approx. a hundred incidents a year; a recent case of his was his first successful resuscitation.
He said: “It was at a farm near Kidderminster. A 76 year old man who was cleaning out the horses was found face-down by his son. He had had a cardiac arrest. A paramedic in a rapid response vehicle, an ambulance crew and I all worked on the patient. A couple of days later I heard from the paramedic that the man was still alive. This was a team effort. It started with those on the ground and continued at hospital.”
Martin recalled other incidents during his volunteering career: “My first job of note was to a man with chest pain. He was quite poorly and I was bricking it when I got there!
“Another was to a very poorly three year old boy with asthma with a panicking mother who didn’t know what to do. I gave him oxygen and got him breathing better averting a possible cardiac arrest.
“And there was a man with a lung disease who was turning blue. He also received oxygen, pinked up and we managed to avoid him having a nasty event.”
Martin describes his volunteering as a Community First Responder as a vocation: “I get a great buzz from it. The point of having a Community First Responder is COMMUNITY RESPONDING. It is going to an individual with the skills that enable you in the very short-term to save their life. That’s a big thing.”
For more information about becoming a Community First Responder or to become one yourself:
visit http://www.wmas.nhs.uk and find the ‘CFR’ page under ‘About us’
call Noel Orbell, Community Response Manager on 07980 094 808
or call the CFR admin office on 01384 215 855 or email CFRAdmin@wmas.nhs.uk