A DEDICATED team of 32 volunteers are hitting the roads across North Wales assisting the Welsh Ambulance Service in dealing with fallers.

Based out of the Ambulance headquarters in St Asaph, the Community First Responder Falls Team was launched on 30 April this year and has already assisted almost 250 people.

The team was created to use the talents and experience of the familiar Community First Responders (CFRs) who had to be stood down from their normal duties at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Providing a two-person response 24 hours a day, the team are mobilised when a call to 999 is recognised as suitable by a clinician in the contact centre.

The team then head to the patient’s address and help them back up, whilst also carrying out a risk assessment of the home, offering advice on safety measures and referral pathways.

Jason Williams is the First Responder Officer for North Wales and heads up the team.

He said: “Here in North Wales the average attendance lasts around one hour, so these skilled volunteers are freeing up so much time for emergency response crews.

“We have managed to keep an impressive 97% of our patients in their own homes.

“I am hugely proud of the Falls Team and it’s a real privilege to assist them in providing this service. They are so passionate about what they do.”

Helping to mobilise the Falls Team were automotive engineering firm MS-RT from Pontypool, South Wales, who kindly donated a van to the Welsh Ambulance Service.

Incidentally, the Ford Transit van was formerly used by world champion mountain biker Danny Hart so was ideally kitted out with a rear canopy, essential for donning personal protective equipment in bad weather and enough secure storage to carry all the equipment needed in a fall recovery procedure.

Joe Pace, Commercial Director of MS-RT, said: “We are proud to be working with the Welsh Ambulance Service in helping to provide this vital falls service to the people of Wales.

“We were able to provide a vehicle that suited the needs of the crews and the specialist lifting equipment required.

“Keeping people in their homes and medical teams on the road is vital during this pandemic and we are delighted we were able to help.”

The team are fully trained in the use of specialist lifting equipment such as the Mangar Camel inflatable chair and the Mangar Elk inflatable cushion to help ease patients off the ground.

Another useful facet of the team’s work is the ability to offer bespoke advice to patients which will help prevent future falls.