A new group of volunteer First Responders have completed their training and joined St John Scotland teams based in Angus.
The four new recruits were presented with a certificate for completing their training at the groups' monthly training night in Forfar.
Now fully qualified, Arlene, Amy, Kim and Yasmin will join the team of 18 volunteers across Angus. The First Responders are tasked by the Scottish Ambulance Service to respond to “Category A” 999 calls including cardiac arrest, difficulty in breathing, chest pain, and choking.
Training to become a First Responder requires completing four full days' training across two weekends, including a mix of practical and paper-based assessments. Volunteers are trained and assessed in basic life saving skills including the use of a defibrillator, oxygen therapy and delivering CPR. They are also taught how to operate the emergency radio system used by the ambulance service, to enable them to communicate with the Emergency Control Centre. After completing their initial training, all volunteers attend regular monthly meetings to enable them to practice their skills and offer support to each other.
One of the new group, Kim Cadger, explained why she was interested in becoming a volunteer First Responder: "I found out about the First Responder scheme when some of my Girl Guiding group organised a visit to learn CPR and first aid. I didn't know that First Responders were called out to 999 calls - I thought they just did first aid at events. Then after I became part of the first aid team at work, I spoke to my colleague who was also a First Responder to find out what was involved, and that prompted me to apply.
"Being a First Responder appeals to me, as it's something that can truly make a difference to someone's life and chances of recovery - if I have the knowledge and skills to make a difference, why not put them into use!"
Now fully qualified, Kim says she's excited at the prospect of being able to help in an emergency: "I'm looking forward to getting out and into action, putting my learning and training into use to help others. I'm a little nervous about encountering a 'first time' situation, but I know I have the support of the group behind me, and if I have any concerns or questions, they'll be there to help."