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DART - Update and Way Ahead 2019

Notes from the public meeting in October 2019

 

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Do You Live in an Outlying Parish?

As you might imagine, emergency response times can be even longer in the outlying parishes than they are in Chulmleigh. Here Chris Rogers, Chair of Eggesford Parish Meeting, writes about recent activities in Eggesford and Wembworthy parishes on the other side of the Taw. 

"At the annual Parish Meeting of Eggesford, held in the excellent Eggesford Station Café, there being no village hall in Eggesford, the question of whether the parish can have a defibrillator was raised.  Three of us, myself the chairman of the Parish Meeting, Margaret Davies and Claire Green volunteered to look into it.  We quickly realised that even if we could fund such a thing in this tiny rural village, it's really not obvious where to put it.  The houses are spread over a wide area; we don't even have a phone box.  And it's very unlikely that someone would leave their loved one in an emergency to drive through the lanes to retrieve a defibrillator if we had one.  It struck us as more useful to learn some basic life support skills to use while waiting for the professionals to arrive.

We approached our County Councillor and were informed there was a chance of her getting us a Locality Grant of £250.  And we found a training company, First Aid Devon of Crediton, who were within our budget.  We could afford a half day of training, and with a charge for the students we could offer either a full day's training or two sessions and double the number attending.

Next we needed to discover if there were people in the village who wanted to be trained.  That wasn't straightforward, and we don't claim to have reached everyone.  But from a mailing list previously used to tell people the level crossing's closed for maintenance, the Neighbourhood Watch list and the parish noticeboard, we had responses from more than enough people to fill a half day session.  Finding a date for the training which maximised the numbers who could attend was, to say the least, interesting.

Someone had the brilliant idea of opening up the training to people from neighbouring villages.  That gave us two full sessions and a waiting list, plus an even better case for getting the "locals" price to hire their village hall.  Wembworthy Parish Council and the Village Hall team were really helpful in getting our grant application approved (Eggesford is too small even to have a bank account) and directing the funds to the training company.

On the day we had just shy of two dozen students spread across two training sessions.  We learnt how to assess an incident, manage an unresponsive person who may not be breathing normally, the safe use of a defibrillator, assist someone who is choking and the safe use of an epi-pen.  We had loads of fun and the feedback from the course has all been great.

We're well aware that we've only learnt a few things; we didn't touch on wounds or concussion, for example.  And without practice we'll gradually forget what we've learnt.  As a remote community we feel we're a little bit more resilient, and there's a possibility that we'll bring in more training.  Our neighbours at Wembworthy Parish Council are already talking of organising some first aid training themselves."

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Devon currently has 53 volunteer Community First Responders Groups and 15 Co-Responding Fire Stations of Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue [DSFR]. These are all trained to attend a wide range of emergency calls in their local neighbourhoods and to provide essential life saving treatment like CPR and defibrillation whilst an ambulance is en route.

Their early intervention is invaluable, especially in rural and remote areas where early treatment is beneficial in ensuring the best outcome for patients.

DART aims to support these groups in all the villages and towns of Devon with a population of over 1000.

We will do this by enlisting local champions who we will assist in fund-raising so that each area can be by provided with additional resources and equipment. In Chulmleigh we have provided a 4x4 and other equipment and we fund approximately half of the running costs.

DART has a five year plan to extend their support to all ambulance first responders, in both community and co-responding groups across Devon.

 

DART will assist in fundraising for these groups and promote their work in order to maintain public awareness and encourage continued support. 

You can make a valuable contribution to your local community by becoming a Community First Responder, joining DSFR or by making a donation to your local group now.