First aiders could be trained to respond to 999 calls in Uckfield

Moves are being made to set up a scheme in Uckfield where people with first aid training could attend a 999 call while an ambulance is on the way to the scene.

The idea is that 'community first responders', would be able to arrive within a very short time because of being based within the community and begin vital life saving first aid before the arrival of an ambulance.

According to the South East Coast Ambulance Service more than 7000 patients throughout its area have already benefitted from the intervention of community first responders.

Uckfield British Red Cross volunteer Tom Crellin said: 'As those who have done first aid will know, the actions taken on scene in those first few minutes can massively increase a person's chance of survival and first responders really do save lives.'

He said some areas received funding for a scheme from the ambulance service but Uckfield was not on the priority list. Any service set up would have to raise funds for the equipment.

'A reasonable target figure would be £3,000 to buy two full first aid and resuscitation kits and some workwear. This can be obtained by approaching organisations such as the council, local charities and businesses for grant aid as well as fund-raising initiatives directly for the scheme,' said Tom.

He added there was already some support in Uckfield for creating a scheme but a core group was needed to take the idea forward. This would be affiliated to the ambulance service and not the Red Cross.

Colin Jackman from the South East Coast Ambulance Service recently spoke to the local Red Cross group and Tom is now asking people to get in touch with him is they would like to be involved in the core group. They do not necessarily need to be interested in becoming responders themselvers.

'The initial work is to establish whether such a scheme would be supported by the council and local grant-giving organisations and see whether there will be enough people interested in becoming responders to make the scheme viable. Even when the scheme is up and running there will still be a need for ongoing support work to administer and publicise it.,' said Tom.

He can be contacted on 01825 763194 or by email at

Learn more about Community First Responders on the South East Coast Ambulance Service website.




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