Maidenhead Community Responders are a group of volunteers responding to Ambulance Service emergency calls in and around Maidenhead, Berkshire.
We are trained by South Central Ambulance Service and provided with a telephone and pager linked into their Control Centre. When a 999 call comes in, it will get triaged by the Control Room staff and a suitable Ambulance response will be deployed. In addition, if there is a Community Responder available locally, then they will be contacted to see if they can respond as well.
The idea is that whilst the ambulance may travel some distance, a Community Responder only operates locally and can often get there first. When minutes and seconds can count, this can make the difference between life and death as well as improved recovery in some cases. Community Responders in the area have been involved with successful outcomes from Cardiac Arrests and there are people alive today that arguably would not be around if a Community Responder had not arrived ahead of an ambulance.
We Respond (mostly) in our own vehicles, we don’t carry blue lights nor are we allowed to exceed the speed limit or break any other rules of the road. As we only cover up to about 5 minutes worth of driving, none of this is necessary and poses more risks were we to be able to. The only concession, which we are very grateful for is that the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead’s Parking team have issued us with parking permits that allow us to park in certain places when responding to a call – for instance Town Centre Pay and Display Car Parks without having to pay, which would otherwise delay us unduly.
The Group was set up in 2005, one of the first in the County (Our first set of equipment was serial No. 8 and it is still in use today). From an initial team of two, it has been built up to about 15 volunteers, sharing 9 sets of equipment. The group has also raised funds to purchase and run a 4×4 Dynamic Response Vehicle (DRV). This DRV can cover a wider area, is marked up and is a crowd-puller at PR and fundraising events.
In 2016 we were thrilled to receive the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service – the organisational equivalent of the MBE and two members were privileged to attend a Garden Party at Buckingham Palace.