First responders going strong

A group of Falkland volunteers continue to lend a hand during medical emergencies

A group of Falkland volunteers continue to lend a hand during medical emergencies.

Some media reports recently suggested that the Falkland-Westwold First Responders had disbanded, but that is far from the case.

“We’re still going strong,” said Brad Caldwell, First Responders president, adding that it was a highway rescue group that actually closed down.

First Responders provides medical assistance until the B.C. Ambulance Service arrives. Call-outs can range from motor vehicle accidents to shortness of breath.

“I joined because they helped my mom when she had a heart attack,” said Caldwell.

Because of Falkland and Westwold’s location, it can take some time for BCAS paramedics to be on scene.

“A lot of people are happy we’re here,” said Caldwell of his group’s goal to stabilize medical situations before they get worse.

“We go as far as Barnhartvale Road (near the Trans-Canada Highway) to Irish Creek Road (near the Spallumcheen speedway).”

Call-outs average about 40 a year.

“This winter there were very few but the winter before, we were out at least once every week,” said Caldwell.

First Responders currently has five certified members and four new recruits are getting certified. The groups meet twice  a month in the old fire hall on Gyp Road in Falkland.

Anyone interested in volunteering can call Caldwell at 250-375-2314.

Because the First Responders is a volunteer organization, funding raising is a constant activity.

“It takes money for the oxygen and the defibrillator batteries,” said Caldwell.

The group will run a food booth at the Falkland Stampede in May and there will be a dinner for the North Okanagan Blue Grass in June.

“We are always looking for fundraising  ideas as we get no support from the provincial government,” said Judy Vandergucht, a First Responders member.

Some funding does come from the Columbia-Shuswap and Thompson-Nicola regional districts.

For more information about fundraising opportunities, phone 250-370-2608.

The Falkland-Westwold First Responders will hold its annual general meeting April 20 at 7 p.m. at the Falkland Seniors Centre.

“We are encouraging all of those who are interested in the work of the Responders to turn out and offer input,” said Vandergucht.