In December 2005 we approached the Community Defibrillation Officer of the East Anglian Ambulance Trust (Now East of England Ambulance Trust), asking to set up a First Responder group in Attleborough.
The group’s initial kit was purchased through a grant given by Breckland District council and the British Heart Foundation gave us a defibrillator as part of the National Defibrillator Program.
As with many groups the fund raising was daunting, however we were fortunate as the owner of the Flower Box saw the benefit, wrote a cheque instantly and then phoned around others in the town. The power of a local personality, who has many contacts really cannot be underestimated. Largely as a result of this and our efforts with the responding, many others have come forward to donate. These have included the Town Council who bought us our 2nd defibrillator, Attleborough High school who held a non-uniform day for us,
Ladbrookes, May Gurney, Rotary club and St Edmunds Lodge (Freemasons).
Six people completed the initial training in May 2006 and the group went live on the 1st June.
Two days after going live the group received its first telephone call, at 02.00 when a male suffered sudden chest pain and there was no Ambulance in the area.
Since this time we have lost and gained members, but just like all other First Responders, all have given their time for free.
In our first 12 months we mobilised someone 191 times, arriving before an Ambulance 148 times. We attended 6 cardiac arrests, performing CPR at 5 of these calls and used our defibrillator 3 times. We administered ‘Hypostop’ to 4 people suffering hypoglycaemic events (diabetes – low blood sugar), 89 people were given oxygen and we looked after people in our area for a total of 26 hours before an Ambulance arrived to back us up.
Since this first year we have continued to have Responders available whenever we can. Now our group is firmly established, our priority is to increase the number of people trained and to increase the cover we can offer to the town.
So far the longest time between us arriving and an ambulance arriving to take over has been 45 minutes, when a diabetic collapsed in town. Although this situation is unusual, we have often been on scene at least 10 minutes before an ambulance arrives.