Volunteers' Week - CFRs

This week it’s National #volunteersweek in the UK, an annual event which takes place on 1-7 June.  It celebrates the contribution made by millions of volunteers across the UK.  We want to share the stories of some of the volunteers we are proud to work with.

 By Andy Wilson, Operations & Technology Lead for Emergency Services

With this week being National Volunteers’ Week, celebrating the contribution made by millions of volunteers across the UK, I wanted to write a blog to highlight the fantastic contribution our Community First Responders (CFR) make to the Emergency Services sector.  At O2 we are proud to support a number of volunteer organisations and the great work they do, which includes CFRs and the lifesaving role they play in our local communities.

Much like a modern day superhero, CFRs are people just like you and me, who are living hidden amongst us and just going about their daily lives.  Except when ‘the call comes in’, when the role of a CFR is to reach potentially life-threatening emergencies in the first vital minutes before the ambulance crew arrives on scene.  Often called from their beds, they respond to calls from the Ambulance Service and are called out to a variety of incidents such as cardiac arrests, strokes, diabetic emergencies, seizures and chest pains.  They are trained, usually by their local Ambulance Service, and qualified to provide basic life support, administer oxygen, use defibrillators and with these skills they will often make a big difference to the patient.

I recently chatted to Mike Jukes (read more here) who coordinates the CFR team (of approximately 10 CFRs, soon to grow to 15) in a village called Bransgore in the New Forest, where they will take around one emergency call every day.  It was great to hear first-hand just how rewarding he finds the work, but when you consider that every minute they are with a patient, before the ambulance crew arrives, can increase the chance of survival by 10%, we shouldn’t be surprised they see their life saving work as making a real difference in their local community.

As a wannabe doctor / paramedic myself (neither of which were the path I followed unfortunately), I’m always hugely impressed by the work of our health service teams and in particular those volunteers who give up their own time (and money) to respond to emergency calls at any time of day or night.  They really do deserve our gratitude and since they rely on charitable donations to purchase their equipment, let’s add them to our potential sponsorship lists for the future (especially anyone running a marathon in a rhino suit), as you never know when you might need help

O2 partners with a number of front line organisations like Community First Responders to help them with their essential technology and social media needs.  We believe sharing our expertise and innovation is a great way of to support the organisations who are on the front line every day supporting the wider emergency services. Opening up the possibilities of technology for CFR’s to use isn’t just important; it really can make the difference between life and death.  O2 is proud to support Community First Responders on the frontline.

Watch a short film about the amazing work of Community First Responders below.