Volunteers sought for new first responders

VOLUNTEERS are being sought to form a team of community first responders in the Newtowncunningham area.

A public meeting will be held on Tuesday April 12 at 7pm in Trinity Court to explore the possibility of setting up a Community First Responders Team in Newtowncunningham.

If successfully set up, the team would cover Newtowncunningham and the surrounding rural areas.


Community First Responders (CFRs) are a team of trained volunteers who will be notified by the Ambulance service when a cardiac arrest, stroke or choking incident is occurring in the local area.

Their aim is to reach a potential life-threatening emergency in the first vital minutes before the ambulance crew arrives.

Their role is to help stabilise the patient and provide the appropriate care, including defibrillation, until the more highly skilled ambulance crew arrives on the scene to take over the treatment.

The initiative is being organised by Newtowncunningham Focus Group and PRO of the group, Karen Callaghan, said the idea was sparked following discussions with a first responder who has attended eight calls in the area in the past 12 months.

“A colleague of mine is part of a group in Derry and when I floated the idea to a few people they all agreed that it was something that would benefit the community,” explained Ms Callaghan.

“A few of them had thought of the idea before but unfortunately, Covid-19 kind of put a stop to any action.

“We have a paramedic in the village who is registered with the ambulance service as a first responder on his days off and after speaking with him, it was agreed that the programme was worth initiating.


“He has attended eight local calls in the past 12 months,” said Ms Callaghan.

CFR groups who are linked to the NAS National Emergency Operations Centre are alerted to an emergency in their area and as they are community based, can provide medical assistance within minutes of a 112/999 phone call being received.

People are invited to come along to the meeting on Tuesday and find out more information without any obligation to sign up.

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