They’re first with the aid

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A NEW first aid response scheme is really making its presence felt.

Calls are flooding in for the Community First Responder system where trained first-aiders provide life-saving care until paramedics arrive.

And for young volunteer responder Nick Holbrook, being kept busy is just what he needs.

“I hope to be a paramedic so all this experience really helps,” said the 18-year-old who has just left sixth form at Mirfield Free Grammar School.

In the two weeks he and colleague Colin Gott have been operating, around 20 calls for help have come in for problems including strokes, heart attacks, breathing difficulties, allergic reactions, choking and fitting.

But because they are being called out across the district, the pair are appealing for someone to sponsor or donate so they can buy a satellite navigation system.

Already they have dealt with emergencies in Ravensthorpe, Savile Town, Heckmondwike, Liversedge, Norristhorpe and parts of Huddersfield.

“We are not familiar with all the areas, so a couple of times we have got lost and that loses us valuable time,” said Nick. “If someone could provide a sat-nav that would really help.”

The Yorkshire Ambulance Service operates the responder scheme, providing training in resuscitation, and use of a heart defibrillator.

Nick works as a lifeguard in Flamborough during the summer and at Dewsbury sports centre out of season. He and Colin, both from Mirfield, are also members of the St John Ambulance. Colin, 53, a Yorkshire Water plant engineer, joined when he was 10. The pair are on call at any time, but don’t have emergency priority on the roads. “We have to respond under normal road conditions,” said Nick.

Ambulance service spokesman Dave Jones said: “First Responders make a valuable contribution. In many emergencies, the first few minutes are critical.”

For two years, Gillian Whitaker, 39, ran the scheme in Mirfield until ill health prevented her from taking an active part. However, she hopes to return to her duties soon.

To contact Nick and Colin in a medical emergency, ring 999 or 07786390016. Anyone who can help with a sat-nav should call Nick on 07838988246.