New Community First Responder Team at The Mall

Pictured: L-R, front: Ken-Shaxon & Paul Barton from The Mall Blackburn.

L-R, back: Gary Squance, Team Leader for North West Ambulance Service, and Jibran Kalokhe from The Mall Blackburn.

Three members of The Mall’s security team have completed training to become fully qualified Community First Responders with North West Ambulance Service.

Ken Shaxon, Jibran Kalokhe and Paul Barton undertook the intensive course to acquire immediate care skills that aim to provide life-saving first aid in the vital minutes before ambulance crews arrive.

They have been trained to treat breathing disorders, fitting and unconscious patients as well as cardiac conditions and diabetic emergencies. This includes, but is not limited to, providing cardiopulmonary resuscitation and using a defibrillator to shock the heart of patients that suffer a cardiac arrest.

This is critical to provide such patients with the greatest possible chance of survival whilst awaiting the arrival of an ambulance on scene. CFRs are despatched in addition to ambulance crews, not instead of an ambulance, but are closer to the scene and able to commence treatment whilst the ambulance is en route.

They are being supported by The Mall Management to attend emergency incidents within the town as part of their daily duties and the shopping centre has also purchased two emergency kits that include defibrillators, oxygen and monitoring equipment.

Loraine Jones, General Manager at The Mall Blackburn, said: “Community First Responders are a crucial part of emergency procedures and we are proud that three members of our security team are on hand to help.

“They will usually be first on the scene and are equipped with specialist life-saving equipment such as defibrillators to help increase the chances of getting a positive outcome.

“Duties include assessing the situation, providing immediate first aid if needed, and establishing the patient’s previous medical history, so it is a huge responsibility.

“We are also delighted to be sponsoring two emergency kits for them to use. Well done to all three of them for all their hard work and dedication.”

Gary Squance, Team Leader and Field Trainer for the Community First Responder teams in Accrington, Blackburn and Darwen, said: “Almost 30,000 people a year suffer a cardiac arrest in the UK every year and currently only 9% of these individuals survive. However, in Norway where every child is taught CPR and defibrillator skills, the survival rate is almost 27%.

“We also know that survival rates are better when defibrillation is given early, so every second counts, therefore CFR’s provide patients with this greater chance of survival by providing immediate care whilst awaiting the arrival of the ambulance. We are thrilled to welcome Ken, Jibran and Paul to the team here in Blackburn.

“Their energy and enthusiasm makes them perfect candidates and their previous experience in dealing with stressful situations will stand them in good stead.

“I would also like to thank Loraine Jones at The Mall for agreeing to purchase the two kits as it has been proven time and time again that having fast access to such specialist equipment can save lives.

“Defibrillators cost almost £1000 each and without these generous donations we’d struggle to obtain these items. We are a charity, and rely on donations to obtain the equipment, but saving a life makes it worth every penny.

“The three new additions takes the number of Community First Responders in the area to 19, but there is always room for more. Ideally, having a CFR in every street would mean reaching more cardiac arrest patients within the 3 minutes we aim for, and we are currently recruiting for more volunteers so I would urge anyone that is interested to get in touch.

“Further information and application packs are available on the North West Ambulance Service website.”

Ronnie O’Keeffe, Soft Services Manager at The Mall Blackburn, added: “Ken, Jibran and Paul are all very well respected members of our security team and this training means they can provide additional, vital support to shoppers and visitors in the town.

“Being a Community First Responder is not an easy job and it takes a special kind of person to carry out this role. Ken, Jibran and Paul have certainly got what it takes!”

If anyone would like to make a donation to the Accrington, Blackburn and Darwen Community First Responder Team, please contact Ken Shaxon via the Mall Management Offices in the first instance for contact information.

©2023 Blackburn BID

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