The Braid Valley Community First Responders team have marked three years of the life-saving service.
The organisation, formed in July 2019, is made up of volunteers who live within their local community, who work in partnership with the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS).
Since that launch, the dedicated team have had 1006 call-outs, and attended 974 local emergencies.
In 92% of these calls, CFRs arrived to offer assistance before ambulance crews were on scene.
The team achieved these impressive figures, representing people helped and lives saved, despite a global pandemic, when the service was stood down for nine months between March and December 2020.
Local Community First Responders (CFRs) respond when alerted by the ambulance service to specific 999 emergency calls in their area, aiming to reach a potentially life-threatening emergency in the vital first few minutes before the arrival of an ambulance crew.
CFR’s are trained and able to provide basic emergency life support and use a defibrillator if required, while the ambulance travels to the scene.
According to NIAS, the chance of someone surviving a cardiac arrest (when a person’s heart stops pumping blood around their body and they stop breathing normally) decreases by approximately 10% for every minute that passes without CPR.
Scheme Co-ordinators for Braid Valley Community First Responders, Leonard Wharry and Paul McCormick said: “Three years ago , after a year’s worth of planning, preparation and training, we went live answering calls for assistance, alerted by Northern Ireland Ambulance Service, from people of the Ballymena, Kells and Broughshane area.
“We would like to thank everyone again for their continued support.
“Without this support, and the support of local people, we would not be able to continue our life saving work in the community.
“Lastly we would like to personally thank each and every one of the responders for their tireless commitment and dedication to the scheme and to their community.
“You should all be extremely proud of yourselves.
For more information on the organisation and details on how you can support the service, or get involved yourself, please visit ‘Braid Valley Community First Responders’ on facebook