A VOLUNTEER who offers a helping hand to the ambulance service is calling on more people to sign up and help him save lives.

Shaun Gerrard is often the first on the scene of a medical emergency as a community first responder (CFR) and is hoping to encourage more people to give up their time.

A CFR’s role can vary from reassuring a patient and their families to administering oxygen and in extreme cases performing CPR or using a defibrillator to restart a patient’s heart.

Shaun, who works in mental health, said: “I was looking for a job in the ambulance service when I just stumbled across it and decided to give it a go.

“I can pick and choose when I go on call.

“Quite often we can get to the call before the ambulance crew and in cases where someone has had a cardiac arrest that is really important because for every minute they are down their survival rate declines by 10 per cent.”

CFRs carry emergency equipment such as defibrillators but do not require any medical training, there are no costs associated with joining or any minimum requirement for the time a CFRs has to spend on call.

“We are not there to replace the ambulance service, just support them,” said the 23-year-old from Atherton.

“Sometimes we are not able to intervene medically but just talking to them or their friends and family until the ambulance gets there.”

For details, visit nwas-rewsponders.info or email steven.nicholls@nwas.nhs.uk, manchester.cfrinterest@nwas.nhs.uk or visit the open evening to be held at the Turnpike Centre, August 28 from 6pm until 9pm.