Framlingham First Responder News

HELLO everyone, it’s been a while since I’ve had time to sit down and type out a write up of our groups news, as some of you have mentioned to me. Rest assured we are still up and running despite my absence from these pages, just that life has been hectic for a few months but I’ve finally managed to put some time aside to bring you all up to speed.

In my role as group coordinator I’ve always said ever since setting the group up in 2007, that being a First Responder is something that should fit into and around your life, not something you should fit your life around. We are after all, a group formed entirely from unpaid volunteers and we all have other responsibilities, commitments etc, be it at work or at home. Therefore, to try and pressurise volunteers into giving more hours than they are comfortable with will, undoubtedly, make them think twice about wanting to give their time. Our policy is and always has been, that each member can determine what hours are convenient for them, week to week. I’m pleased to say our group members are very conscientious and passionate about the role and service they give to our community and this is reflected in the commitment they give to the role of Community First Responder.

It is inevitable and expected, however, that for most people the role of CFR does have a lifespan. Lifestyles, jobs and personal circumstances change for all of us over time and for this reason, members understandably come and go over the years and the hours they feel able to give change. We have always had a great sense of camaraderie within our group and I’ve always been a believer that it is important to be understanding of changing circumstances of members, both past and present. It’s important to be appreciative of the hours every member has been able to give in the time they are with the group, rather than feel miffed if they can no longer provide as many hours cover or decide it’s time to move on and of course, should circumstances change for them again in the future, they all know they are welcome to come back should they want to.

Since our group started in 2007 we have, as a community, been fortunate to have a team of volunteers whose desire to help others has given an almost 24/7 cover for almost eight years. Members need to have a lifestyle (when they have chosen to be on call) that enables them to rush out of the door when the phone rings, but as explained above, this can be subject to change for all of us, and over the past 12 months we have found ourselves running on about 50% cover. At this point I think it’s important to thank my fellow members for finding and giving time in their busy lives to provide the 50% of the weekly rota that is covered.

However, Framlingham is a town with a large population, a population that is growing all the time with the new housing developments that are planned or being built around the town. Looking ahead, maintaining the level of cover we are currently providing, or better still increasing it back towards where it was at, is only going to be possible if new volunteers step forward to help fill the gaps on the rota. If not, while our group members will continue to give as much time as they can, cover will likely diminish to below 50%.

I know it’s not a role that everybody would be comfortable doing but I also believe there are people out there that would make good responders, have maybe thought about getting involved over the years but for whatever reason have never quite got around to getting in touch to discuss it further. If you are one of those people, now would be a fantastic time to make that step and I would be delighted to hear from you.

For someone having a cardiac arrest, to have the best chance of survival they need someone with a defibrillator and training in CPR (Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation) with them within eight minutes and the chances of a Paramedic or Ambulance Crew being only eight mins away are not high. Howeve,r the chances of someone on standby that is already in the community getting there within eight mins are much greater and lives in our community have been saved as a result of this!

While being a first responder is an unpaid role, you will learn valuable skills that you may be glad of should you find yourself in an unexpected emergency during your day to day life (and I can tell you, I have had that very experience more times than I care to remember) and it’s an extremely rewarding experience to know you have made a difference to someone in need, maybe even saved their life. Also you never know when that 999 call is made from within our local community if the person in need, maybe in a life threatening condition, is one of your nearest and dearest. The more members we have, the more hours we can cover and the greater the chance that your nearest and dearest will have help arriving in those valuable moments that they need it most.