RAF Wittering First Responders complete second successful year

Community First Responders (CFRs) at RAF Wittering have seen their second year of operation fly by, having attended nearly 2,000 emergency calls since October 2012.

First Responders help provide emergency life saving care to patients.Training and equipment is provided by East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) with volunteers from the RAF Wittering community giving up spare time to use their medical skills to attend appropriate 999 calls directed through EMAS control. CFRs are dispatched at the same time as an ambulance response. As they live in the area where the incident has taken place, they are often the first to provide essential treatment, while ambulance crews travel to the scene.

The Wittering Responder Scheme was founded in 2012 by Flight Lieutenant Mark Baron, Warrant Officer John Tomiczek and Sergeant Chris Lee. The group stood up on October 1, 2012 and consists of both civilian and military personnel. Year two has brought with it some genuinely challenging events; between April and September 2014 the team responded to 500 shouts, including three cardiac arrests, 33 chest pains, 31 breathing difficulties and eight strokes.

Corporal James Crighton of 5001 Sqn has been with Wittering’s Responders since the very beginning. He said: “It is very rewarding to be able to give back to a wide community with skills and knowledge taught, to people who can be in dire need of medical support.”

To mark another successful year of operations, RAF Wittering’s Community First Responders welcomed Richard Wheeler and Steve Pratten, respectively Director of Finance and Community Response Manager for EMAS. Steve Pratten said: “We have many Community First Response schemes running in the area served by EMAS, all of which provide a valuable service to the public. I’m pleased that the RAF staff at Wittering are finding their involvement to be so rewarding and would like to congratulate them on their second anniversary.”

Group Damian Captain Alexander said: “Now well established in their second year, RAF Wittering’s Community Responders continue to make a life saving difference, in their own time, to the local population. It’s hard to believe that the team has put in over 600 shifts in addition to their day jobs over the last two years – it’s a simply astonishing level of commitment. For me, this is a fantastic example of community engagement, with RAF and civilian emergency service staff, in the same uniform, working together for the benefit of the wider community.”