Crucial seconds can make all the difference to lives

Kevin Whitthread
Kevin Whitthread

Time really is of the essence when it comes to pulling someone back from the brink of death.

Across the country Community First Responders are arriving at emergencies those crucial minutes or even seconds before the paramedics.

Their immediate help often makes all the difference between a mourning family and a recovering patient.

Kevin Whitthread is starting a Community First Responder Group in Sandy.

He said: “We respond to 999 calls in the local area; mainly chest pains and difficulty breathing – never road traffic accidents or major traumas and no children under eight.

“We provide minutes of first aid treatment before the ambulance arrives.

“Those few minutes are lifesaving, especially if they are in cardiac arrest.

“At the moment there’s just me in Sandy so we need to recruit more volunteers as well as fundraising.”

The group is co-ordinated through the NHS.

Kevin heard about the First Responder scheme through volunteering with St John Ambulance. He found there was no group in Sandy so he applied to the NHS and went on the training course.

The free intensive two day training course is usually held at the weekend and Kevin was able to attend a course in Cambourne.

He will be a fully fledged First Responder when he completes a day with the ambulance crew later this month.

Anyone between the ages of 18 and 70 can be a First Responder. Prior experience is not necessary.

The Sandy Community First Responders will arrange a schedule and provide cover whenever they can.

To find out more about the job of a First Responder go to the or call the East of England Ambulance Service on 01954 712400 to register your interest.

The new Sandy group will have to pay a one off fee of between £1,200 and £1,500 for the necessary equipment.

Tesco in Sandy has invited the group to raise money in the store by bag packing or shaking donation buckets.

However to raise such a large sum the group ideally needs one or more sponsors.

To donate or to become a sponsor call Kevin on 07557 146934 or email