Volunteers needed for new life-saving pilot program in Frontenac County

NsN volunteer responders are trained in CPR and AED use by Frontenac Paramedics represented by Advanced Care Paramedic, Jason Kervin (left). The project, research, and funding is led by Clinician-Scientist and Emergency Physician in the Department of Emergency Medicine at Queen’s, Dr.
Steven Brooks (right). Photo via Frontenac County.

A new innovative program aims to improve emergency response times for cardiac events throughout Frontenac County with the help of volunteer responders. Researchers from Queen’s University have partnered with Frontenac Paramedics to create the Neighbours saving Neighbours program for cardiac arrest.

According to a release from Frontenac County, Neighbours Saving Neighbours (NsN) volunteers will receive training from Frontenac Paramedics in CPR and the use of an automated external defibrillator (AED). Volunteer responders will then be equipped with AEDs and dispatched via the GoodSAM app, along with Frontenac Paramedics, when a cardiac arrest emergency occurs in nearby areas of the County.

“Patients who experience cardiac arrest have the best chance for recovery when CPR and treatment with an AED begins immediately,” said Dr. Steven Brooks, Clinician-Scientist and Emergency Physician in the Department of Emergency Medicine at Queen’s. “The Neighbours Saving Neighbours program empowers people living and working in Frontenac to begin that life-saving treatment in the crucial minutes before paramedics arrive. But we can’t do it without you. We need dedicated volunteer responders to make it work.”

The County said that there is no cost for the volunteer responders, nor the municipality, as the program is funded through Dr. Brooks’ research group as a scientific study intended to discover more about how community responder programs improve survival rates in cases of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. Data collected will be used to inform future community responder initiatives here and around the world.

“It can take a few minutes for paramedics to arrive on-scene at an emergency, especially when we need to cover long distances to get there,” said Jason Kervin, Advanced Care Paramedic with Frontenac Paramedics. “That’s time cardiac arrest patients often just don’t have. Volunteer responders can make the difference between life and death for friends, family, and neighbours who experience cardiac arrest. I hope you’ll volunteer to help.”

Applications are being accepted on the Frontenac County website. Some of the general requirements include access to a vehicle, owning a smartphone with a data plan, and living or working in the Townships of South Frontenac, Central Frontenac, North Frontenac, or Wolfe Island.

The County noted that prior training or experience providing CPR or using an AED is not required to become a volunteer responder, and successful applicants will receive training.

Visit the Neighbours saving Neighbours program website for more details.

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