East End residents to pilot ambulance volunteer lifesavers scheme

The London Ambulance Service is looking for volunteer lifesavers for an emergency calls project being piloted in the East End.

In the first scheme of its kind in the capital, residents on Poplar’s Aberfeldy Estate, will be given a chance to make a difference in their neighbourhood by responding on foot alongside ambulance staff to patients with life-threatening conditions.

LAS community resuscitation training officer Claire Adams said: “When someone’s heart stops beating, every second counts in getting essential and basic life support to that patient.

“Our ambulances reach more Tower Hamlets patients in a life-threatening condition in less than eight minutes than ever before, but if someone living on the Aberfeldy Estate has the basic skills and equipment, and is dispatched at the same time as our staff, they could often reach the patient even faster, giving them a much greater chance of survival.”

Successful volunteers on the estate, run by housing association Poplar Harca, will be trained to use a defibrillator – a machine that restarts a patient’s heart by delivering an electric shock. These defibrillators are already used in London by staff and the public at train stations, tourist attractions and shopping centres to save lives while an ambulance is on the way.

Poplar HARCA communities and neighbourhood coordinator, Jeanie Harrison, said: “We hope to give residents in other estates the chance to take part in similar initiatives in the future.”

An open evening will be held at the Aberfeldy Centre on Aberfeldy Street next Thursday, July 14 starting at 7pm for people to come along and find out more.