A newly qualified Community First Responder knows all too well the importance of early CPR after surviving a cardiac arrest two years ago.
Peter Corr, a Telford Community First Responder, became a volunteer lifesaver earlier this year after his own experiences made him want to do more to help others. Whilst out running before work on the 12th September 2019, Peter collapsed. Bystanders quickly rushed to his side and found him in cardiac arrest. They performed CPR on Peter before ambulance crews from Donnington arrived on scene and, after several defibrillator shocks, managed to restart his heart before he was taken to hospital and later underwent surgery to have a stent fitted.
Peter, who is a Clinical Psychologist with children in his day job, said: “From my experience, I was aware that I made the recovery that I did from the cardiac arrest only because the bystanders got in so quickly and performed CPR.
“My family were really keen to find out more about what they could do and get involved in having some CPR training, so we attended an event hosted by Telford CFRs, on the Wrekin in March 2020. It was at that event that I learnt about the role of CFRs which seemed to fit really nicely with the role that the bystanders had performed on me. At that point, I was quite determined that I wanted to be involved in a scheme that would allow me not only to promote vital skills to other people and to raise awareness about early intervention, but also to be in a position where I could potentially help a member of the public myself.”
Peter applied as a volunteer community first responder after seeing a recruitment drive by the Trust in October 2020 and underwent his five week Level Three FROS (First Responder on Scene) training course in June 2021. As part of his training, Peter then shadowed an established CFR and on his very first call out they responded to a woman choking. When Peter and his CFR mentor, Nick, arrived at the scene the woman was being given CPR by bystanders. Peter said: “Whilst it was nerve-wracking as my first 999 call not knowing what to expect, I remember it being really positive to see people performing CPR. Nick and I continued resuscitation efforts on the lady and managed to stabilise her until the ambulance crew arrived and she was taken to hospital in a much better condition than she was in when we arrived.”
Peter was signed off as a fully-fledged CFR a few weeks ago and is now volunteering to respond to 999 calls in his local community. He continued: “My personal experience has made me realise how precious life is which is why I wanted to become a CFR. It’s also made me realise how important it is to know how to help someone in cardiac arrest. Learning CPR is easy and is a skill every single person should have as you never know when it will be needed. It could make a difference to someone surviving – I am living proof of that.”
Cliff Medlicott, Community Response Manager, said: “Peter is a living, breathing example of what early CPR can do when someone suffers a cardiac arrest and we’re pleased to welcome him into our WMAS family.
“Our volunteers come from all backgrounds; from slaughtermen, teachers and butchers to nurses and consultants, like Peter. CFRs play a vital role in getting to life-threatening calls in the community in those vital minutes, such as cardiac arrests, heart attacks, strokes and breathing difficulties, to provide definitive care and complement our front-line staff.
“For every minute your heart stops beating, and you stop breathing, your survival rate reduces by 10%. The definitive treatment is good and early CPR and defibrillation which is why it’s crucial that people learn these life-saving skills and know where their nearest public defibrillator is in their local community as, you never know when these skills will be needed.
“If you think you’ve got what it takes to be a CFR like Peter, we’re currently recruiting for volunteers across Staffordshire, Warwickshire, Herefordshire, Shropshire and Worcestershire. To find out more visit www.jobs.nhs.uk and search ‘community first responder’.”