An initiative to train residents to react to 999 calls in their neighbourhood has been launched in Polegate.
Plans for the town’s first team of Community First Responders (CFR) are underway after a similar scheme in Eastbourne reacted to more than 1,000 emergency calls last year.
The initial stage began with a no-holds barred meeting informing the 20 residents who attended the public meeting what was expected of them. Five people came forward to volunteer for the scheme after the October 26 meeting.
The launch follows successful schemes in the villages of Alfriston and East Dean.
Gordon Piggott, is a first team responder in Eastbourne.
The grandfather said: “The real bottom line is what Responders do is work in area really local to them because with all the best will in the world it’s impossible to put ambulances in each street.
“We are not paramedics, we are not trained to their levels, what we can do is to react and respond to medical emergencies quickly. Last week I was able to make a difference on two calls by being there quickly and then handed over the patient to ambulance crews and suggested treatment.
“Often it’s major stuff we go on and in some cases it’s a matter of life or death.”
The 69-year-old added: “We are all volunteers who do it to put something back into the community and get a new experience by getting out there and making a difference.
“But if you are not sure, don’t do it because we don’t make any bones about it, we are here to resuscitate people.”
Volunteers are expected to be available for eight hours a week and commit to training and protocols set out by the ambulance service.
MP Norman Baker said he would encourage other towns and villages to become part of the scheme.
The Lib Dem MP said: “It’s a way of providing the community with the ways and means of saving lives before the ambulance service turns up, so it can be a matter of life and death.
“These schemes are very useful because even the best ambulance service in the world cannot be everywhere immediately so with these schemes the community itself can help to save lives in the critical moments before the ambulance arrives.
“It would be good to have them everywhere because they do save lives.”
The new group will initially operate under the guidance and training of the adjoining Eastbourne CFR team. Responders have to be over 18-years-old, trustworthy, reliable and able to remain calm in emergency situations.
For more information call 01323 748905 or visit www.easbourneresponders.com