Clarence Town is a small, tranquil village which sprawls across rich river flats. With a population of less than 2,000, the resilience of the community has been strengthened over the past five years by a Community First Responder (CFR) Unit.
In 2016, members from the local Rural Fire Service (RFS) were trained by NSW Ambulance to provide clinical care to their community before paramedics arrive on scene. Alex Weston, Captain of the Clarence Town RFS, said Brigade members saw great value in having this unique capability within their small rural community due to the nature of incidents and existing constraints on other agencies.
“We’ve all come from the RFS and being a part of this unit is another service we can provide to care for our community,” Alex said.
“Being a small regional town, everyone knows everyone, so there’s a high chance the calls you respond to could be someone you know.
“We’re all there to support each other and those who joined the CFR Unit all joined for similar reasons.”
The welcome addition to the town has proved its worth, with the CFR Unit attending approximately 800 calls since its commencement.
The Unit now has 11 active clinical volunteers, with another four new recruits due to undergo their induction training later this year.
“It’s great to see the difference we’ve made providing that first line of clinical care to the community,” Alex said.
Community members are extremely grateful for the service they provide, with the local Business Chamber awarding Clarence Town CFR Unit the ‘Community Services Award’ in 2019.
The passion displayed by the clinical volunteers has undoubtedly contributed to the program’s success.
The trust they’ve developed with their community demonstrates the real difference they can make to patients’ health outcomes in areas where distance and response times for NSW Ambulance can be challenging.
The Clarence Town CFR Unit is very proud of how far they have come in the last five years and look forward to many more rewarding experiences ahead.
“It’s a great achievement for the whole team,” Alex said.
“We’ve had amazing trainers come out and give us the best training we could have asked for.
“Hats off to NSW Ambulance – we really thank them for their support.”