A LIFE-SAVING service which often reaches the scene of a medical emergency before an ambulance is appealing for help.
Lincolnshire Integrated Voluntary Emergency Service (LIVES) is in the middle of a dedicated effort to double the number of its First Responder volunteers.
Although some areas of South Holland are already well covered, some do not yet have teams of people on call to respond to an emergency in the place where they live.
And that proximity to the scene can be the difference between life and death – last year 300 lives were saved by LIVES.
Steve Hyde, of LIVES, said: “Out of the 15,500 calls we received last year, we arrived first, before the ambulance, 86 per cent of the time, and that is because we are already in the area.
“When someone stops breathing, even waiting 12 minutes for an ambulance is too long. We work to get there within six minutes and that can make a difference.”
But Mr Hyde was full of praise for the ambulance service within Lincolnshire, despite disappointing response time figures released recently for East Midland Ambulance Service.
He said, when extracted from the whole region’s figures, response times in the county – the second largest in the UK – are good.
He said: “We work closely with the ambulance service and they do a fantastic job.
“They get frustrated when they get money taken off them by the Government for not reaching targets and then still have to reach targets.”
Mr Hyde is now hoping to educate people about the incredible job LIVES’ First Responders do.
Their number has grown from just short of 350 18 months ago to 600, but it is hoped to boost that to 1,000.
He said: “The ambulance service is stretched and that is when our First Responders can make a real difference.
“People still think they are paid to do this but they are volunteers and we need all the help we can get.
“Although Spalding has a very active team, some of the smaller villages do not.
“People expect to see us at the scene of an emergency but our volunteers cannot be on duty 24/7 and sometimes we just do not have anyone on duty in the area.
“We need more people to volunteer and we need as much support as we can get.”
Anyone interested in finding out more go to www.lives-responders.co.uk.