DIAL 999 in a medical emergency and you might expect an ambulance to be first on the scene.
However, often first to arrive are LIVES first responders, volunteer life-savers who many people know little about.
First responders are unsung heroes, tasked with treating and keeping alive injured people until an ambulance arrives.
Those first few minutes following an accident, fall or other emergency are when injured people need help most.
The area’s development officer Neil Chadwick said: “In many medical emergencies and after accidents, people can die within the first few minutes.
“We also know that if certain simple but critical interventions can be performed within those first few minutes that life can be saved and disability reduced.”
A new LIVES group launched in the west of Grantham in January, to work in tandem with an established group to the east.
Each group has a handful of first responders who are trained to respond to medical emergencies within the local area. They are trained to deliver basic life support and early defibrillation, and can provide patient assessment, oxygen therapy and general patient care.
Advances in technology, such as easy-to-use external defibrillators and lightweight oxygen systems, mean treatment which until recently could only be administered by a highly trained professional can now be carried out by those with much less training.
Adam Winch, 19, trained as a first responder in October and he has been called out to 50 emergencies already.
He said: “It can be a little bit scary because you don’t know what you’re walking into. But when you’ve walked out, you know you’ve helped someone.
“It’s a great thing to do, but you have to be the right sort of person, and not someone who hesitates or can’t stand blood.”
The groups are keen to welcome new faces into the fold. To find out more, call Adam on 07540 149898.
You may be surprised to hear that LIVES receives no funding. Intead, volunteers have to raise money to pay for training and vital life-saving equipment. Businesses wishing to offer financial support can call Neil on 07761 544478.