Volunteering at Christmas: 'Caring is a real passion for me, not a chore at all'

Volunteering at Christmas: ‘Caring is a real passion for me, not a chore at all’

chris alexander stood in front of community first responder vehicle smiling in uniform.

Chris Alexander will be spending his first Christmas away from family this year to “do his bit” for EMAS as a volunteer Community First Responder (CFR) in Northamptonshire.

Chris, an electrician from Higham Ferrers, was inspired to become a CFR after watching the Channel 4 documentary series ‘999 what’s your emergency’. He’d always felt a desire to work in a caring role, and after seeing CFRs in action, thought it sounded like the role for him.

Chris, 29, said: “Caring is a real passion for me, not a chore at all, more of a calling, and I love to be depended on in an emergency. I knew the CFR role would be perfect for me.”

He applied to volunteer in January (2020), and after weeks of training and shadowing, made his first solo response as a Level 2 responder with the Nene Valley CFR team in February.

Level 2 responders are trained to respond to the most serious call outs, such as cardiac arrest, choking, unconscious patients and diabetic emergencies.

“It was actually all really quick. I applied, went on an excellent training course, and spent time buddying an experienced responder before heading out on my own.

“My first solo response was an emotional rollercoaster. When the allocation came though I was nervous but excited. For the whole drive there I think I was hoping it would be someone with a headache, and a cup of tea would make it all better, however when I arrived the patient was very unwell. But this didn’t faze me at all. The amazing training I’d had kicked in and I was able to update the Emergency Operations Centre with information about the patient’s deteriorating condition and care for them until the ambulance arrived,” he said.

A few months later as the pandemic hit in March, Chris was furloughed by his employer, and instead of enjoying some time off and putting his feet up, he chose to work full time, giving over 120 hours a month of his time, unpaid.

Since February, Chris has volunteered a staggering 600 hours to EMAS, helping many hundreds of people in serious need.

Chris said: “I just love this job and the difference I can make, not only to patients but the NHS too. Being able to ease even a tiny bit of pressure of our busy health services makes me feel helpful and I’m more than happy to do it, even on Christmas Day.”