Sheringham responders mark 500 call-outs

The help they give can mean the difference between life and death – and a now a north Norfolk community responders team are celebrating their 500th call-out.

The Sheringham Community Responders team are all volunteers, trained to respond to healthcare emergencies in the Sheringham area, and have answered 500 '999 call-outs', since they were first set up in July 2007, 13, of which have been to cardiac arrests.

Community responders are groups of volunteers who, within the community in which they live or work, have been trained to attend emergency calls received by the NHS ambulance service, providing first aid until an emergency ambulance arrives.

They are also trained in the use of defibrillator machines, rapid defibrillation, an electric shock to the heart, plays an essential role in allowing the heart to re-establish normal activity.

David Draper, responder co-ordinator for the Sheringham team, said: 'We do not go to major trauma events or call-outs involving domestic violence, what we do go to are things such as people collapsed in the street, people in diabetic comas or people having problems with asthma.

'We also go to people who have a heart attack or cardiac arrest of some kind.

'Our remit is straightforward really, our role is to keep someone alive or improve their chances of survival until the ambulance crew arrive.'

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Each member of the team has received two days training with the East of England Ambulance Service, and they are reassessed every six months.

Between them the Sheringham team manage to cover every night shift and weekends.

Mr Draper said: 'We are a few minutes drive time away whereas the ambulance service can be the other side of Norwich. On average we get there 20 minutes before the paramedic.

'Our early intervention with simple skills and equipment has made a real difference to distressed casualties over the last three years.'

To mark their 500 milestone, some of the responders will be in Sainsbury's Sheringham store on Saturday October 30, demonstrating their skills, recruiting volunteers and raising funds for life-saving equipment for the community.

They will also be ready to provide any young 'trick-or-treaters' with a semi-professional make-over using theatrical scar and bruise make up.

To find out more about the Sheringham Responders, visit or for information on becoming a first responder, visit or call 01284 731802.