We held a meeting in the Jubilee Hall on Friday 17th to kick off our recruitment drive for new Community First Responders. It was attended by members of the public, representatives of the North West Ambulance Service and special guests: Knutsford Town Mayor, Tony Dean and Tatton MP, George Osborne.
George Osborne, who was made a Patron of the charity, said: “The First Responders offer a life-saving service in our town, attending around 800 calls a year. The volunteers represent the best of British values and I am proud to back them. If you are looking for an opportunity to make a real difference then get in touch.”
Colleagues from the North West Ambulance Service also gave short speeches. They descibed the importance of having a strong local First Responder Team to increase a casualty's chance of survival while waiting for an ambulance. They also outlined how First Responder candidates from Knutsford will be trained.
Adrian Rees, chairman of the First Responders in Knutsford, said the event had been a success, with more than 20 enquiries from Knutsfordians wanting to volunteer.
He said “It was a fantastic afternoon, obviously capped by George's presence and speech - in which he reminded the audience that he has provided help and guidance to our trust ever since becoming our MP, but also him agreeing to become the Patron of Knutsford Community First Responder Trust.
“I presented him with our 'team colours' and his own trust name badge and also suggested that he might wear this in the House of Commons.
“Our current strength is down to only four ECFR's and we need to re-build this to over 15 to meet the current demands of 999 emergency call-outs in our region.”
For more information on becoming a First Responder, please visit our recruitment page.
Our team of Responders has moved into Knutsford Fire Station.
Cheshire Fire and Rescue offered to share their facilities free of charge so now the team can store their equipment in a safe, accessible location. They will also have access to the kitchen, common room and lockers.
Station manager Duncan Palin said: “Having the Knutsford First Responder team based at Knutsford Fire Station can only be a benefit.
“It will ensure that we continue to provide the best service to the local people, creating a true community asset.
“The initiative brings equipment and expertise together under one roof with the added benefit of us being able to work closely together when required for the benefit of the town and surrounding areas.”
Adrian Rees, chairman of KCFRT, added: “We are delighted that Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service has allowed us to use their facilities at Knutsford Fire Station as our new headquarters for our First Responder team and vehicle.
“Having searched for a permanent base for our life-saving work, being at the fire station will improve our ability to continue to serve the Knutsford community by being able to arrive at a 999 emergency in minutes.”
Our responders have recently been trained to be Enhanced Community First Responders by the North West Ambulance Service. The training took six months and ended with two days of demanding written and practical assessments. This enables them to provide a more advanced level of care until an ambulance arrives.
This month, one of our team, Stuart Willis, achieved the impressive target of attending one hundred 999 calls since he gained his ECFR qualification in February. He says that he has had more call-outs since becoming qualified and, in most cases, he has been the first on scene, ahead of the ambulance. He is glad he did the course as it has increased his knowledge and skills for the benefit of the community in and around Knutsford.
We are delighted to have been nominated by the Sainsbury's Knutsford store as their ‘Charity of the Year’.
Sainsbury's Store Manager Gareth Saunders said: “We picked the First Responders because it is quite close to a lot of colleagues' hearts, particularly the Heartstart services.”
“We thought it would be a great charity to support and everyone wanted to get involved. My team are really enthusiastic about raising money for them and we are hoping to plan interesting events in the community.”
Adrian Rees, chairman of the trust, said that the First Responders team are honoured to be nominated.
He added: “It is a most generous award by Sainsbury's. Funding our continuing work in providing Knutsford and the surrounding communities with our monthly Heartstart courses, provision of a First Responder service and the fitting of defibrillators is very expensive. Without the on-going financial support of local businesses such as Sainsbury's we would be unable to continue these life saving activities.”
“We look forward to working alongside Gareth and his splendid team at the Sainsbury's Knutsford store in their many sponsored initiatives over the coming year."
We thank the Knutsford Guardian for covering the story and for providing the photo.