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Donation gets first responders on the road to saving lives

By Ashbourne News Telegraph  |  Posted: May 01, 2014

  • The new community first responder car, donated by East Midlands Ambulance Service, was unveiled at Ashbourne ambulance station in Park Road.

  • Simon Biggs, group co-ordinator of Ashbourne Community First Responders.

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ASHBOURNE community first responders are now the proud owners of a fully marked-up emergency vehicle.

The car was donated by East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) to support the group's life-saving work within the Ashbourne area.

Community first responders are dedicated volunteers who are trained by EMAS in life support skills. The responders go on duty in their spare time to assist when emergency calls are received by the ambulance service.

Since responders live in the community they serve, they can often be first on scene and deliver essential life-saving support until the emergency crew arrives.

The Ashbourne community first responder (CFR) scheme has 11 volunteers who respond in the area, including as far afield as Moneyash, Parsley Hay, Sudbury, Hatton and Carsington.

Simon Biggs, group coordinator, said: "The car is a fantastic piece of kit and we are very grateful to receive it.

"We are extremely proud that EMAS is supporting our work and we hope, by having this vehicle, it will help raise our profile in the town, and lead to more people volunteering to join the group."

Mick Barnett-Connolly, head of community response at EMAS, said: "We have a dedicated CFR dispatch desk at ambulance control who send out a responder at the same time as an ambulance, when the job is appropriate.

"We are proud of the work that our volunteers do and, after a successful pilot last year, where five vehicles were given to different schemes across the East Midlands, we are pleased that we have been able to support more schemes with a vehicle.

"The ambulance-style cars have high-viz livery, satellite navigation and radio systems so volunteers are able to communicate with our control room and find their way to patients easier than before."

Ashbourne CFR group was founded in 2001, and is entirely self-funded, relying on the generosity of local companies and people to purchase equipment.

There are collection tubs situated around the town and the group has already been supported by donations from the Lions Club and the Ancient Order of Foresters as well as several local businesses.

The group is always on the lookout for new volunteers and anyone interested should e-mail coordinator@ashbournecfr.org.uk.

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