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The First Responders Who Are Saving The Day

The First Responders Who Are Saving The Day

For the past 10 years one East Grinstead-based community organisation has been providing crucial help to townsfolk and those who live in the nearby villages of Forest Row, Ashurst Wood, Dormansland, Lingfield, West Hoathly and Sharpthorne in need. As the group celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2019, you are invited to join free community sessions which are being run by the group to mark the milestone.

The East Grinstead Community First Responders (CFR) was established in 2009 after a local paramedic, Andy Rowe, in conjunction with Liz Bennett, who is now a town councillor, set up the scheme. The pair identified a gap in community-based resources in the town where a CFR group, which can be found up-and-down the country typically in rural areas where ambulances would struggle to reach, could help fill.

The role of CFR has expanded over the years, the types of conditions attended to have changed, as to the locations of where teams are deployed, with more and more urban settings. However, despite these changes, groups are still volunteer led with teams giving up their free time to attend 999 calls. 

East Grinstead CFR team leader Sam Ford says: “We are not a replacement for the Ambulance Service, being community-based we can often reach a patient in advance of an ambulance. This allows us to bridge the gap between no care and the advanced care the Ambulance Service can provide.’

“Conditions we attend include strokes, heart attacks, cardiac arrests, seizures, diabetic emergencies, minor trauma and falls, across all age ranges. We are a team of volunteers and all have other jobs, be it in full-time employment or as full-time parent carer” Sam adds, listing the conditions teams attend.

As well as attending emergencies, East Grinstead CFR provides support in other ways, it provides cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and defibrillator awareness sessions, and as part of the 10th anniversary celebrations, 10 community sessions are being offered this summer. In May, sessions proved popular with attendees saying the sessions were worthwhile.

The sessions which continue this month could help save a life, if you think a heart attack and a cardiac arrest are the same thing, the message is, you should attend. The sessions are designed so attendees learn the truth and have the myths dispelled, leaving them confident to give the lifesaving help that more than 75,000 people in the UK every year need when they suffer a cardiac arrest out of a hospital environment.

If you are thinking about attending a session, Sam says: “Responding is a great way to help the local community, having the chance to quite literally make a life-saving difference. Luckily though these cases are quite infrequent, so we have to be prepared to help in perhaps less practical ways too.’

“For an elderly person, at home alone, having suffered a fall or a painful injury simply having someone with them can make a real difference to their general wellbeing and if their condition does deteriorate, we’re there ready to escalate the level of assistance. The value of this is hard to quantify but is genuine.”

Bringing Lifesaving Support
To The Community

For more information about how East Grinstead CFR brings lifesaving support to the
community, and how you can help, visit:

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