IT has been a VERY busy first full month for the recently formed Braid Valley Community First Responders team.
The group was created to organise and train local volunteers to respond to cardiac arrest in their local areas while the ambulance is on its way.
Launched officially on July 16, it was a case of getting straight down to business!
The volunteers cover quite a large area, including Broughshane, Kells, Ballymena and the surrounding rural local areas.
The group has 13 volunteers, however by August 16 (only a month after its commencement) it had responded to 46 purple and red incidents in support of the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service.
This translates into 143 individual responses.
The group prefers to send more than one responder to each patient in case their needs are beyond the capacity of a single person.
Cardiac arrest is a case in point and while only three of patients have been in this specific condition, many more have been suffering from chest pain.
Responders grow in experience and expertise, with the group aiming to have an experienced person at each incident to support them.
The four committee members have divided this task between them.
The more active members are learning fast, particularly through their exposure to NIAS crews and rapid response paramedics, who have been patient and helpful with them.
The group held their second monthly members meeting and training event at the end of August and used this to reflect on their experiences, share what they had learned and build vital patient care competence.
More members are needed and they are asking people to get in touch if they want to volunteer.
Working with the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service and Dalriada Urgent Care, there is a planning and training programme organised for January so if you are interested check the group out on Facebook.
The group posted recently: “One thing has become clear in the course of our first month’s activity -we need to recruit and train more responders.
“We are working with NIAS on dates for another training course and this will determine our recruitment timetable.”
A spokesperson added: “We owe huge thanks to those who made our new service possible.
“The people and organisations who contributed so generously to help us meet our funding needs.
“The NIAS Community Resuscitation Development Team, who guided us through the complexities of setting up the scheme, trained our members for us and continue to support us.
“The Governance team at Dalriada Urgent Care, who supported us in our recruitment efforts and other vital matters such as insurance.
“The front line staff of NIAS who have supported and guided us on scene.
“And, last but certainly not least, our volunteers, who continue to give the community their time and newly-acquired expertise and to meet their new challenges with great resilience and good humour.
“It's a privilege to work with you.”
Follow the Braid Valley Community First Responders on Facebook to keep up to date with all their news and to see how you can become involved.