HM Coastguard volunteers will now support communities in Suffolk and North East Essex during the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic by enrolling as community first responders for the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST).
Community First Responders (CFRs) usually comprise volunteers who respond to medical emergencies in their own vehicles that do not have ‘blue-light’ capabilities.
CFRs are often the first on the scene to a medical emergency and give life-saving first aid until emergency ambulance crews arrive and take over.
From Tuesday 19th January, up to two coastguard vehicles operating from Colchester and Saxmundham – each carrying two coastguards – will, at the request of EEAST, respond and travel to non-Covid-19 related patients in Suffolk and North East Essex who require immediate medical assistance.
HM Coastguard volunteers will use their Coastguard Emergency Responder Casualty Care Course (CERCC) skills to support EEAST in improving response times to patients.
Eleven volunteers from Aldeburgh, Felixstowe, Shingle Street, South Woodham Ferrers, Southend, West Mersea and Lowestoft Coastguard Rescue Teams completed mutual aid training last week, administered by a specialist paramedic and community first responder, in preparation for this supportive role.
This provision of support is to run until Sunday 31st January.
However, the agreement could be extended depending on the requirements of the NHS.
Claire Hughes, Director of HM Coastguard, said:
“We remain absolutely committed to supporting other category one responders and helping frontline services to reduce the pressures on the NHS during the period of Covid-19.
“Our mutual aid work further highlights the supportive and fundamental role HM Coastguard plays within local communities right across the UK, with our dedicated and highly-skilled volunteers being at the heart of everything that we do.”
Jeremy Littlewood, Senior Coastal Operations Officer for HM Coastguard operating in the South East, said:
“We are proud of our volunteers for the professionalism and commitment they have shown throughout the training sessions we have completed in preparation for this support work.
“Our volunteers are always striving to help the communities they live and work in and we all really appreciate their efforts.”
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