Call-outs double in three years

THURSDAY 10am: Call-outs for volunteer first responders have doubled in three years with the 'unsung heroes' playing a crucial role in Melton's emergency care.

Melton Community First Responders has revealed the group attended 460 incidents last year, compared with 233 in 2005, as 999 services take advantage of their developing skills and extra equipment.

All of the group hold regular jobs and fit on-call rotas around their private lives, with some being nominated for awards for their dedication.

Responder Tim Frisby will pick up a Melton Times New Year Honour at Stapleford Park tonight after he was nominated by a local police officer.

The dad of two, of Coltfoot Way, said: "We're now better equipped than ever and can cover more hours. The East Midlands Ambulance Service has got a bigger workload and has invested in deploying community responders via a control desk.

"We are 24 hours a day now and go to people with heart problems, diabetics, stroke sufferers and collapses."

Tonight's award will be given to Tim after he came to the aid of Melton Pc Louise Wells when she fell and broke her leg in three places. She also nominated him for showing a caring and professional attitude at incidents she has attended as an officer, saying: "His reputation precedes him. He puts others before himself every time and is truly an unsung hero."

Tim, married to a community nurse and an IT worker by day, said: "A lot of it is about TLC and keeping the situation calm. I'm just part of a whole team of people who do the same thing and I'm a bit embarrassed about being nominated."

Grandmother Ina Scott (58), of Wycliffe Avenue, Melton, is also a responder and organises the group's call rotas. She said: "Last year we went out to 316 category A life-threatening calls and 144 category B calls, which are other emergencies. There's satisfaction in giving something back to the community and my six-year-old granddaughter thinks it's great."

Vale First Responders, a separate group covering the Vale of Belvoir, has also experienced an increase in call volume, attending 200 incidents in 2007.

The Melton Group, backed by St John Ambulance Service, has benefited from 17,000 of equipment given to them by Melton councillor Ron Marks, who chose them as his Mayor's charity last year.

He met the team at their base in the St John Ambulance depot, Asfordby Business Park, last Wednesday and presented more cash left over from the appeal.

He said: "They were able to buy five full sets of life-saving equipment which allows them to go out on the road, and we were still able to hand over a further 2,300."