Off-duty and former military personnel are helping to save lives in Lincolnshire by volunteering as Community First Responders.
The small team of volunteers help the East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) cut down the amount of time it takes to respond to 999 calls in rural areas, saving lives and preventing disability in the process.
In Lincolnshire there are two fully marked up ambulance service rapid response vehicles (RRVs).
The RRVs are crewed by military personnel from RAF Coningsby, Cranwell, Digby, Waddington and Scampton.
The volunteers recently carried out some vital Road Traffic Collision training at RAF Coningsby.
Corporal Vicky Brown, who performed the role of a casualty in the exercise, said: “I work in the IT Projects office and have been volunteering with the Lincolnshire Emergency Medical Response (LEMR) scheme since August.
“I volunteered to join the scheme as I have had first responders help when my daughter had a febrile convulsion when she was 15 months and also very recently they assisted when my father passed away in April.”
The on-call community first responder is dispatched by EMAS to areas of high volume calls or low ambulance coverage to reduce response times.
The volunteers work alongside other first responder schemes, including St John’s Ambulance, Red Cross, Royal Lifesavers, Lincolnshire Integrated Voluntary Emergency Service (LIVES), Lincolnshire Emergency Medical Response and Fire and Rescue Co-responders.
Sergeant Charlie Heron, employed in the Typhoon Project Team at RAF Coningsby, has been volunteering with LEMR since January this year and qualified as a clinical responder in August.
He said: “In my 18 years of RAF service I have never found anything as rewarding, or addictive, as being a member of LEMR.
“We have a great sense of compassion and camaraderie and integrate well with EMAS, working alongside our paramedic colleagues as well as with the police and Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue Service depending on the nature of the job.
“My line manager has been fully supportive of my involvement with the scheme in my own time as seen by granting me leave this year to complete my clinical course.”
Corporal Kai Donnelly, an avionics technician, said: “I joined the scheme because I wanted to do more with my spare time and helping people in need appealed to me.
“Since joining I have found an unrivalled sense of achievement and good feeling which has become addictive and so I continue to involve myself as much as possible.”
Sergeant Phil Robinson, from the Communications and Information Systems Squadron, said: “I enjoy all jobs whether it is helping an elderly patient after a fall or dealing with life threatening emergency calls.
“At the end of the shift you know you have made a difference to somebody’s life.”
Sergeant Lara Ferguson, from the same squadron, added: “It’s been a massive eye opener seeing how much the system is under pressure, but it’s really rewarding to be able to give something back to the community and to be able to give patients the reassurance that they’re being looked after.”
The scheme is managed by Operations Manager, Flight Sergeant Matt Bailey.
He said: “LEMR has now been assisting EMAS with whom we have a great working relationship across Lincolnshire for 15 years.
“The dedication and professionalism of all current and previous responders helps to provide care and treatment to the public until a frontline ambulance arrives.”