A graduation event was held recently for the latest batch of volunteer recruits for Community First Responders Armagh and Tyrone.
Community First Responders is a group of volunteers formed three years ago to help improve outcomes for patients who had experienced cardiac arrest in the community.
Responders work in conjunction with the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service and are trained to NIAS standards.
Among the guests in attendance at the graduation event was Colly McBrien, who fell ill last October, when both NIAS crews and CFRA&T were dispatched to his home.
A rapid response paramedic and CFRA&T senior responder Mark Winter set to work and managed to restart Colly’s heart.
Colly presented the new responders with their certificates and told the recruits of the importance of their role in the community. “I don’t know how to thank all those involved in helping me to be up and walking around today,” he said.
“I am amazed at the commitment of CFRA&T responders, who go out at all hours of the day to help people in dire circumstances without any financial reward.”
CFRA&T currently has trained 85 responders; each is equipped with an extensive resuscitation kit, including a defibrillator.
They have been trained in lifesaving techniques and can sustain life in a cardiac arrest until colleagues from NIAS arrive on scene.
Since the service went live in June 2017 CFRA&T have responded to over 400 activations by NIAS; they have attended calls for a wide range of conditions, from chest pains and choking events through to complete cardiac arrest, where they have had to intervene with CPR and defibrillation .