Volunteer lifesaver appeal after surge in demand

LIVES First Responders have seen a surge in demand over the past year.
LIVES First Responders have seen a surge in demand over the past year.

Volunteer lifesavers saw a significant surge in local demand last year, prompting a call for more recruits to help with their vital work.

LIVES First Responders saved more than 200 people in 2012 and responded to around 18,000 calls in Lincolnshire, with a 32 per cent increase in December’s call-outs alone.

Fundraising and marketing manager Stephen Hyde has attributed the rise in demand to the strain placed on ambulance services by inappropriate call-outs, which leaves paramedics over-stretched to deal with genuine emergencies.

To cope with this surging demand, which is particularly high in the east of the county, the charity has urged local people to volunteer and help save lives in their area.

“We need to get more responders out there, particular along the east coast, where we cannot get enough,” Mr Hyde said.

“People are using 999 more than they ought to which is tying the ambulance service up - it’s something we badly need to fight against.”

Mr Hyde says towns like Alford with an active LIVES presence and much local support benefit from a more rapid emergency response than in low uptake regions, which can mean the difference between life and death.

Alford’s team responded to a staggering 552 calls in 2012 whereas areas with less volunteers such as Friskney only made it to 17, which LIVES says is due to availability rather than demand.

Hogsthorpe. Ingoldmells and Addlethorpe are also said to face an urgent need for volunteers.

LIVES volunteers don’t need to have been medically trained but must be 18 or over, own a car and be able to carry equipment, weighing the equivalent of a holiday suitcase, up a flight of stairs. They should also be able to kneel down to deliver CPR.

“We are looking for people who want to help their community - most people who come on board will save a life within their first two years and will really help people during their moment of need,” said My Hyde

LIVES would also appreciate greater financial help locally, on a similar level to fellow lifesaving charities, the RNLI and the Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire Air Ambulance, which tend to receive more public donations and fundraising support.

Mr Hyde said: “I don’t think the public realise how vital we are - if you are involved in an accident in Lincolnshire you are far more likely to receive treatment from LIVES than you are the RNLI or the Air Ambulance.”

To find out more about volunteering email Stephen at shyde@lives-responders.co.uk.