Advent Calendar window 20 – Emma Wilkins, Head of Community Response

20 - Head of Community Response - Emma Wilkins


Emma Wilkins

Job Title:

Head of Community Response


Millennium Point Headquarters, Brierley Hill, Dudley

Length of service:

20 years

Role within WMAS:

My role is about community engagement and improving patient outcomes. I look after a team of 15 staff and, together, we are responsible for recruiting and training of volunteer Community First Responders, working with the community to support the placement of defibrillators and engagement with our local communities. There are around 1,000 CFRs across the West Midlands region who give up their time to respond to 999 calls in their local area. I am responsible for ensuring that we provide high quality of care and comply with governance for all of community response activity and, most of all, that the volunteers enjoy what they do! Engagement with local communities is vital; we train people in emergency life support skills such as how to recognise a heart attack, deal with an unconscious casualty, choking or serious bleeding through a national recognised initiative. We know that the quicker someone in cardiac arrest receives CPR, the better their chances of survival and working with schools, other emergency services, the British Heart Foundation and other organisations means we can teach basic life support to thousands of people. Automated External Defibrillators are another key to saving lives. We’ve supported the installation of hundreds of devices in various locations across the Region including butchers, leisure centres, schools, train stations, shopping centres and companies.

Christmas day plans:

I will be doing an early shift on Christmas Day, starting at 7am and hopefully finishing at 3pm, providing management support to staff as well as responding to 999 calls in Birmingham and the Black Country. I’ll also be hoping to find a cheeky mince pie during my shift before returning home to enjoy Christmas dinner with my fiancé, family and my dog.

Top tip for winter:

Splitting headaches, sickness, dizziness, dehydration: the dreaded hangover
Believe it or not, we do get called to people who are suffering from a hangover. If you are going out to party, then there are ways of making it more bearable the next day. Alcohol is a diuretic which means it removes fluids from the body, so drinking excessively can lead to dehydration, which is the main cause of your hangover after a heavy session. Have something to eat before you go out, especially rice or pasta. Drink water or non-fizzy soft drinks in between each alcoholic one; fizzy drinks actually make it worse as they speed up the absorption of alcohol into your system. Drink a pint or so of water before you go to sleep and keep some beside your bed in case you wake up during the night. If you wake feeling terrible, you probably didn’t follow this advice. There are no cures for a hangover, but paracetamol based pain killers can help and you should replace lost fluids by drinking water, soda water and isotonic drinks. Sugary foods can also help. ‘Hair of the dog’ (drinking more alcohol) does not help! You will simply delay the appearance of symptoms until the alcohol wears off again. If you’ve had a heavy drinking session, please wait 48 hours before drinking any more alcohol.

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