From telephones to lifesavers

A TEAM of BT workers have just added an extra element to their job description – saving lives.Fourteen people from the Adastral Park site doing jobs ranging from software engineer to working in the post room have just joined up with the East Anglian Ambulance service as first responders.

A TEAM of BT workers have just added an extra element to their job description – saving lives.

Fourteen people from the Adastral Park site doing jobs ranging from software engineer to working in the post room have just joined up with the East Anglian Ambulance service as first responders.

All of them were originally first aiders for the company but now they have been given extra training and their skills are going to be used on the wider Martlesham community.

They will be called at the same time as an ambulance to make sure that they can get to people who are having a cardiac arrest or have perhaps fallen to offer them first aid and support until ambulance crews get there.

For someone who is in cardiac arrest it is vital to get a defibrillator on them immediately, giving them an 85 per cent chance of survival.

But every minute without treatment that chance diminishes by 20 pc so if responders can reach the scene before the ambulance people have a much better chance at life.

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The volunteers will not be called out to more major incidents such as road accidents.

Because of the amount of workers at BT they have their own fire engines and ambulance station.

The scheme has been going just one week and already Ian Catchpole, the on site ambulance station officer has been called out to two incidents.

By day Mr Catchpole is an IP telephony development manager but when the call comes in, he turns into a potential life saver.

He said: "You never really know what you are going to.

"The message you get from control is often not that informative so the adrenalin does start to go.

"That is why there is so much emphasis on the training so that people can deal with the situation."

The BT workers only cover working hours but there one of them also covers the Martlesham Heath area at night as well.

And with 14 calls since the scheme was launched on New Year's Eve Andy Oxburrow is hoping to recruit some more volunteers to the area to help him out.

He said: "It is very, very rewarding, the feeling you get when you are helping someone.

"You are there to give first aid and support until the ambulance comes."

As well as needing more recruits Mr Oxburrow is also trying to raise around £2,500 to buy a first aid kit and a defibrillator as at the moment he has had to borrow one from the ambulance trust.

To help him with fundraising call on 01473 241500.

n. Anyone interested in becoming an first responder would have to go on a two day training course where they are taught how to use medical gases, defibrillators and also how to resuscitate someone.

Volunteers need not necessarily have first aid training to apply as this can also be arranged.

For further information call 01603 481220.

Weblink: www.eastanglianambulance.com.

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