Monday 9th November 2015 – 9.45am – Chris Kowalik.
“It’s rewarding helping people. I try to carry on my normal life. I’ll put my wellies on and I’ll go and sort the horses and the sheep out. If I get a call, I just kick my boots off and I’ll run from there!”
Dave Fulton is one of the founding members of Highley’s Community First Responders. Now, 68 and retired, he still responds to medical emergencies.
The scheme’s other still active founder, Nigel Preece, 56, works for the nearby Manuscript Pen Company. Dave and Nigel each volunteer up to seventy hours every week awaiting the call from the ambulance service control room to attend an incident nearby while an ambulance is en-route.
Pictured left-to-right: Nigel Preece, Dave Fulton. Picture: West Midlands Ambulance Service
Dave explained how he first got involved: “I was on the parish council. A couple of guys from the ambulance service gave a presentation to the parish council asking for help to set up a scheme in the area. I thought that was something that interests me and it went from there.”
Nigel blames his wife! He said: “The ambulance service put a flyer through my door. The wife said: ‘Why don’t you go for it?’ I thought it was a good thing for the village so I went along and did the training. It was the wife’s fault really!”
They got started with equipment bought using a grant from the parish council. For them both, their most memorable case is their first successful resuscitation which they attended together.
“We managed to bring him back” recalled Nigel. Dave added: “The ambulance crew came in and one of the paramedics was expecting to see a dead body but we got him back, in the recovery position, breathing on his own with no problems. I occasionally see him walking around the village, it’s just brilliant to see him.”
The scheme now continues thanks to the contributions of two additional volunteers and the support of villagers.
Dave: “Most of the people in the village are our friends and a lot of them donate. A lot of people donate to CFRs instead of sending out Christmas cards. You carry on because you know they appreciate it. It’s a good thing for the village. It’s nice to help people. They respect and appreciate what you do.”
Neither Dave nor Nigel have any intention of stopping and would encourage others to try volunteering for their community.
Dave said: “It’s not just using your skills when you’re on call. You could be in town somewhere and someone could collapse in front of you. Once you’ve learnt the skills, you could use them anywhere, even at home. If one of your family collapses you will know what to do. You can help that person until we get there or the ambulance gets there.”
Community First Responders are volunteers trained by West Midlands Ambulance Service to a nationally recognised standard. They can be called upon to attend medical emergencies in their area while a blue-light vehicle is en-route.
West Midlands Ambulance Service is currently recruiting for CFRs across Shropshire in preparation for its next course in the New Year. For more information, visit the NHS Jobs website www.jobs.nhs.uk .
Highley Women’s Institute
The Unicorn Inn, Hampton Loade
St. Mary’s Charity Shop
The Malt Shovel, Highley
Highley Working Men’s Club
and many others.