Russell Kerr, a community responder who has dedicated the last nine years to saving lives has been awarded the first Community Responder of the Year award, as voted by his peers.
A West Moors man who became a first responder in 2007 and who now attends over 600 calls a year on an entirely voluntary basis has received an award.
As a first responder for the South Western Ambulance Service, Russell Kerr is trained to attend 999 calls and offer life-saving treatments and reassurance to ill patients who are waiting for an ambulance. His dedication to duty has won him the first Community Responder of the Year award (2016).
‘It’s my job to get there, make an assessment and wait with the patient until the ambulance arrives,” he said, “and it’s surprising how people, when they see my green uniform, calm down. It literally takes the stress out of a situation.”
He carries a responder kit bag including a defibrillator.
David Toman, community responder officer for South West Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust said, “Russell appears to always strive for excellence in his role and give outstanding care to all his patients. When crews have backed him up, he has provided high quality care to very poorly patients, assisting like a long-standing emergency care assistant would.
“He restocks the responder kit bag, delivers and collects kit to and from other responders and is a natural leader of the group for whom nothing is too much trouble.”
Russell also attends training sessions every month. “On top of that,” said David Toman, “Russell’s book-on hours and call attendance figures are incredible. His enthusiasm and support has been commendable and he fully deserves this award.”
“As a first responder I help people in dire need,” said Russell. “It’s a very worthwhile volunteering role and I would encourage others to do it.”
Anyone wishing to become a first responder for South Western Ambulance Service should call 01392 261647 or visit www.jobs.nhs.uk.