Hartlepool Ambulance Charity: How a team is setting out to save lives in our town

A new team of volunteer lifesavers are set to become a familiar sight in Hartlepool.

Saturday, 23rd February 2019, 8:00 am
Updated Sunday, 24th February 2019, 1:12 pm
Hartlepool Ambulance Charity members Jason Anderson (left) holding a vac-mask for choking, and trustee Dan Hewitson with one of their radios.
Hartlepool Ambulance Charity members Jason Anderson (left) holding a vac-mask for choking, and trustee Dan Hewitson with one of their radios.

Hartlepool Ambulance Charity is the name given to a group of first aiders who have come together to provide training and cover, and to assist in emergencies before paramedics arrive.

It was the idea of Jason Anderson after he helped to save the life of an 11-month-old baby who was choking in Middleton Grange shopping centre in 2016.

Some of the equipment and training dummies used by Hartlepool Ambulance Charity.

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Charity members will be trained up to the level of NHS first responders and plan to patrol areas of the town in their own vehicle.

Jason, who is managing director for Radio Hartlepool, said: “We are just a group of local volunteers out to save local lives.

“We are going to be a uniformed, highly visible service.

“We are not replacing the NHS ambulance service. We will be trained to a degree to what NHS first responders are.

“If we get there before the ambulance and the casualty goes into cardiac arrest or shock we would know how to deal with that until they could be handed over.”

Jason said they are not short of willing volunteers. But they need to raise around £36,000 to pay for uniforms, a vehicle, equipment and training.

They are due to move into a base at The Annex in Wharton Terrace soon and within three months hope to provide first aid cover at town community events and patrol Dyke House and the town centre on Friday and Saturday nights.

Jason said they will work with CCTV operators, pubs, town pastors and Middleton Grange shopping centre to provide a co-ordinated service.

He added: “It is much-needed. We have all come across somebody who is in need from a fall right through to applying CPR.

“It is just another tool in the box for our community.”

Paul Suggitt, from the town, is another key member of the charity.

He has over 20 years’ experience as a first aid trainer and is raising money for the charity including when he will walk 195 miles barefoot this summer.

Paul said: “If I can offer my skills to this charity by giving training and so on it goes without saying.”

A number of Hartlepool councillors have pledged their support by contributing cash from their ward budgets and becoming patrons of the charity.

For more information about Hartlepool Ambulance Charity see their Facebook page.