25 August 2015 - Everybody Needs Good Neighbours

CFR Peter Blundell

(Left to Right): Lynn Hampson, Peter Blundell, Jill Maddison

A newly qualified volunteer Community First Responder (CFR) for the North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) has been hailed a hero after he helped save the life of his neighbour who was having a cardiac arrest.

Peter Blundell completed his CFR training with NWAS’ Over Wyre Team at the end May, but only a few weeks later he got his first major call out and it just so happened to be for Jill Maddison who lives across the road from him in Knott End.

Jill recalls the incident: “Earlier in the day I had been to the doctors as I thought that I had a chest infection and then got home and took some medication. I felt a rise of heat and sweat and felt dizzy and said to my husband that I didn’t feel well. I laid down on the sofa and that was the last thing that I remember.”

Jill’s husband Brian Maddison said: “She just looked delirious and when she went unconscious I immediately called 999.

“I said to our daughter to run and get Peter to come and help as we had been talking only a few weeks before that he had completed his CFR training. We had even joked with him at the time that we didn’t want to be his first patients.”

Peter said: “There was a knock at the door at around 11.30 in the morning and it was the daughter of the family from across the road. She was really upset and crying and said that her mum was dying. So I just grabbed my gear and ran over the road.

Peter said: “When I got there Jill was having difficulty breathing and was unresponsive. It was nerve wracking as it was my first serious call and you don’t expect it to be for someone that you know but the adrenaline just kicked in and I went into automatic mode.

“Thankfully when you become a CFR you get specialist equipment, such as a defibrillator and oxygen cylinder, which were invaluable.”

Jill’s daughter had also called on one of their other neighbours Lynn Hampson for help. Lynn assisted Peter when he was using some of the equipment and she also helped give information to the emergency call handler until the paramedics arrived. 

Jill was taken to Blackpool Victoria hospital and is now making a full recovery: “I have been overwhelmed by the support from all our neighbours who have sent get well cards and flowers,” Jill said – “Yet, without Peter that day I wouldn’t be here. I would hate someone to go through what I did and not have received any help, so to us he is our absolute hero.”

Peter, a retired Police Officer, explains why he decided to volunteer as a CFR: “I wanted to try something different and worthwhile as I had gained a lot of job satisfaction from helping ambulance crews in the various incidents that I attended whilst I was in the police.

“Now that I am retired becoming a CFR has been a great thing to do to try and help make a difference to our community.”

Edward Shields, Team Leader for the Over Wyre CFR Team has also praised Peter’s calm actions:

“This was only Peter’s second call and the first time he had been to somebody in a critical condition.

“The added pressure of the patient being somebody he knew must have been very stressful but he did brilliantly to keep his cool and put his training into action to save the patient’s life. We’re all very pleased for them both.

“Happy endings like this are rare but they are the reason we all do what we do.”

There are currently eight CFRs located across the Over Wyre area and a total of 1140 volunteers across the whole of the North West region.

Alongside their day jobs and everyday commitments CFRs provide local support for ambulance crews as they are sent to incidents at the same time as paramedics and often can get there first to start basic life support procedures such as CPR. This is vital, especially in rural areas, as for every minute someone does not receive treatment after suffering a cardiac arrest, their chances of survival decreases by 14 per cent.

The Trust is always looking for more people to volunteer to become Community First Responders and those who are interested don’t need to have had any previous first aid experience as full training will be given. To find out more information go to www.nwas-responders.info