Looking for a new challenge this year? Why not learn how to save a life!

Thursday 16th January 2014 –4.45pm – Suzie Fothergill.

What could be a better way to start the New Year than by learning how to save a life!

West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) has many initiatives running within the community to ensure that help can be on hand as quickly as possible.

If you have never undertaken a first aid course then why not try a free HeartStart course. The two hour British Heart Foundation course is suitable for anyone 10 years of age and up. During the session participants will learn a number of lifesaving and first aid techniques including CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation), the management of severe bleeding, loss of consciousness, chocking and chest pain.

Approximately 17,000 people within Staffordshire have already been trained in the lifesaving course, which has been running since April 2012. The Trust aims to have trained 60,000 people in Staffordshire alone by April 2017 and is always on the lookout for new partakers.

If you live in a rural location and feel like doing a little bit more for your local community then why not find out more about becoming about being a Community First Responder (CFR)*.

CFRs are groups of volunteers that respond to emergencies on behalf of West Midlands Ambulance Service, prior to the arrival of an ambulance. CFRs are trained by the Ambulance Service to a nationally recognised level and help to reach those people suffering from medical emergencies in the remote rural communities fast. In many illnesses or injuries the first few minutes are critical and simple interventions can be performed in order to save lives or prevent disability.

At present there are 269 CFRs within Staffordshire; some work alone as an individual, whilst others may belong to one of the 31 groups currently operating within the County.

The Community First Responder Schemes are entirely funded by charitable donations. Many CFRs actively carry out fundraising events to help raise money which goes towards funding responder kits, automated external defibrillators and some schemes even choose to purchase a car to aid them with their response.

If you have a busy work life and don’t feel like you can spare the time to become a volunteer responder but would still like to do something to help, then why not think about installing a defibrillator into your place of work or local community?

There are 406 public access defibrillators within Staffordshire. These are located in an array of places including business premises, schools, colleges, leisure centres, retail outlets and village halls to name but a few.

Some of the most recent defibrillator sites to go live include: Mayfield Memorial Hall, Aston Village Hall in Market Drayton, Royal Oak Public House in Bishops Wood and in Amington Park in Tamworth. Each defibrillator site is listed on a database held within the ambulance control room. If anyone dials 999 to a patient in cardiac arrest, in an area which has a defibrillator, they will be advised of its location and instructed how to use it. The machine itself will also electronically ‘talk’ the user through the process step by step.

Victoria Tufail, WMAS Community Response Manager said: “West Midlands Ambulance Service prides itself on having excellent community schemes that are in place around the region. The HeartStart course is a brilliant starter course for anyone who hasn’t undertaken any first aid training before or for anyone that feels they may need refreshing on the basic first aid principles. The course is suitable for both children and adults, so why not get involved as a family?

“Knowing what to do if someone is in cardiac arrest really can mean the difference between life or death. Eighty-five percent people who suffer cardiac arrests have the ability to be corrected by defibrillation. The quicker someone is defibrillated, not only improves the chance of their survival but it can also help to improve the chances of a full recovery and the time it takes to do so. For every minute a patient is in cardiac arrest, their chance of survival decreases by 10 percent. So by encouraging your work place or local community to invest in a defibrillator really could help to save a life.”

For more information about any of the above community schemes in Staffordshire please contact the community engagement team via 01785 237341 or email heartstartstaffordshire@wmas.nhs.uk. Alternatively please contact Staffordshire Community Response Manager, Victoria Tufail via Victoria.tufail@wmas.nhs.uk

For information about schemes outside of Staffordshire please visit http://www.wmas.nhs.uk/Pages/CFRs.aspx


* Each CFR has to complete an intensive training course provided by West Midlands Ambulance Service.

If you are interested in becoming at CFR volunteer, you should be:
• Aged between 18 – 70
• Have a current clean driving licence
• Be physically fit
• Be able to provide time when you can to attend incidents whether at home or work
• Have a caring nature and be willing to help raise the profile of the schemes in local areas

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