A community first responder (CFR) group in the West Midlands has been given the most prestigious award a voluntary organisation can get.

FastAid Solihull & Birmingham has been recognised with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service for 2016

The group work with West Midlands Ambulance Service to respond to life threatening 999 calls in their local communities.

CFRs are equipped with a defibrillator, oxygen and a first aid pack, they are responded at the same time as ambulance resources, but due to their location will often get to a patient just before the ambulance and are therefore able to start potentially life-saving treatment.

As well as providing care for people in their local area, the CFRs spend a considerable amount of time teaching other people the skills and knowledge such as CPR sessions onto other local community organisations.

Samantha Jackson and Mark Lines from FastAid attended a garden party at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday 24th May where they met the Queen and other winners of this year’s award.

Sam Jackson Trustee and Co-Ordinator of FastAid said: “We are absolutely delighted to have been given this award. It is clearly a testament to the efforts of all those involved in FastAid, who give up their time voluntarily to help those in need of medical care. The fact that this award has been received in this, our 10th year of operation, means it is even more special.

“I’d like to thank the volunteers in our group for all of their efforts. To get this award is clearly special, but knowing that we’ve saved someone’s life is even more so, and that is why we do it.”

Andy Jeynes, Community Response Manager for Birmingham and Solihull, said: “There are many patients alive today because of the work of community first responders. Even though they might only get to a patient a matter of minutes before an ambulance, starting CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) earlier can make a massive difference to the chances of the person surviving.

“CFRs can be called upon to attend to medical emergencies such as cardiac arrest, strokes, falls and breathing problems amongst others. Approximately 850,000 adults suffer a cardiac arrest every year in the UK. About 90% could be helped by early defibrillation, which is where groups like FASTAID come in. For every minute a patient is in cardiac arrest, their chance of survival decreases by 10 percent.”

WMAS Chief Executive, Anthony Marsh said: “Getting this award is a fantastic achievement for FASTAID and shows the value that such groups play in the community they live and work in.

“As an organisation, WMAS is tremendously fortunate to have many CFR groups like FASTAID who freely give of their time to help the ambulance service, but more importantly our patients. My warmest congratulations to each and every one of you.”

FastAid will receive the award from the Lord Lieutenant later this summer.