First responders need you!

First Responders training in Port William last week.
First Responders training in Port William last week.

LIFESAVING First Responder teams in the area are appealing for new members to come and join them.

At a training evening in Port William recently, representatives of the Port William and Isle of Whithorn teams talked about the need the increase the numbers in the local teams to lighten the load on those already involved.

At the moment there are four First Responder units in Wigtownshire - Port William, the Isle, Garlieston/Sorbie and Drummore.

The Port William team has 13 members at present and the skills learned can result in saving a life as one member discovered recently when her baby granddaughter experienced breathing difficulties.

First Responder Murray Morland said: “If anyone has already done first aid training you are halfway there. You are also training in CPR, how to administer oxygen and use a defibrillator. All the training is done by a highly qualified paramedic.

“It is not as intimidating as people think it is as you could be on call for weeks and never get a call out. You always work as a team of two so you are never on your own and First Responders are only called out when an ambulance has been dispatched so you always know that back up is on the way.

“You go out to attend to people with chest pains, breathing difficulties or if they have collapsed for an unknown reason. You don’t go out to road traffic collisions and you don’t go to anyone under the age of 16. And you also need a sympathetic employer!”

Responders can take shifts to suit there working day but normally it is a 12-hour shift when they are ”on call”.

Andy Cosh for the Isle of Whithorn team said: “Family members are always very relived when you arrive. They visibly relax when you come in the door. You can feel the relief. It’s nice to know you can help them.”

The Isle team would like to double their numbers of Responders to ten as Andy feels that would be the “ideal” number.

The work of First Responder units is being publicised in schools locally and if you are interested in joining your local unit an information evening will be held in the Monreith Arms Hotel, Port William, on Thursday, March 8 at 7pm.

A certified first responder is a person who has completed a course and received certification in providing pre-hospital care for medical emergencies. They have more skill than someone who is trained in basic first aid but they are not a substitute for advanced medical care rendered by emergency medical technicians (EMTs), emergency physicians, nurses, or paramedics.

We currently have thirteen responders. At the moment we don’t meet on a regular basis just now and again if you wanted to meet some members I can organize a training night if you like the paramedic trainer is due to come she might be happy to meet you.