‘We do not have a Batcape – but we can save a life!’ Meet amazing first responders

The Sudbury Community First Responders. Picture: SUDBURY COMMUNITY FIRST RESPONDERS

The Sudbury Community First Responders. Picture: SUDBURY COMMUNITY FIRST RESPONDERS - Credit: Archant

They are not, in their own words, superheroes – but to many people, they are perhaps the next best thing.

For 12 years, Sudbury has had a team of volunteer community first responders who are first of the scene of emergencies such as heart attacks, seizures and trips and falls.

On call in the Suffolk town at all times of the day and night, they receive calls from emergency services asking them to be on the scene while paramedics make their way there from further afield.

It means the volunteers are often first on the scene providing vital first aid when time is of the essence, meaning they can be credited with saving lives that might otherwise have been lost.

But despite being around for more than a decade, the group says: "Many people in the street and even those who have had us arrive at their front door with our enormous bags are not exactly sure of our role."

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So the first responders have written a frank, humourous but inspiring - and some would say modest - account of just who they are and what they do.

"Firstly, let's be clear....we are not superheroes," the team's statement said.

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"We are your neighbours. We do not have a 'batcape' but we do wear hi-vis jackets.

"We do not have super powers but we do carry and use a defibrillator (or AED - automated external defibrillator).

"We cannot save the world but we can save a life."

The group is diverse, ranging in age from 21 to 68 and from a variety of professions such as teaching, planning and the NHS.

In their personal lives, they have many hobbies - from astronomy to gardening, running and learning Italian.

"We are a busy bunch but try to buy out a little time from other things to give something back to our community, at a time when they need us most," the group said.

Their duties include a monthly training meeting to make sure their skills are up-to-date, as well as an annual assessment to check they can carry out CPR and other first aid.

"So why would we bother to do all this at our own expense and in our own time?" the group said.

"Well, it's true that some of us just can't resist a challenge and others are convinced that fluorescent yellow looks good with their skin tone - but for all of us in a recent survey, the number one motivation was the desire to help and support people at what may well be the worst moment of their lives.

"We feel a huge sense of satisfaction in being there to offer assistance and comfort and sometimes...to save a life."

Those interested in finding out more about becoming a first responder themselves should email the group here.

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