FOR most people, the end of a hard day’s work is a chance to relax, but for Machynlleth train conductor Gareth Mason, clocking off the day job means clocking on for his community.

Gareth has been a Community First Responder in and around Machynlleth for 14 years, also acting as ‘guardian’ of several Public Access Defibrillators.

“I got into it in 2010 as I really wanted to be a bridge between patients and the ambulance service,” said Gareth.

“There is a lot of pressure on the service and these roles allow us to respond to patients sooner, which can be the difference between life and death.

“I’ve been to about 16 cardiac arrest patients and on each occasion a defibrillator and CPR has been required.”

Machynlleth train conductor Gareth Mason also works hard as a Community First Responder. Photo: Transport for Wales
Machynlleth train conductor Gareth Mason also works hard as a Community First Responder. Photo: Transport for Wales (Transport for Wales)

Community First Responders are trained and supported by the Welsh Ambulance Service NHS Trust. Training consists of a five-day course covering anatomy, physiology, traumatic and medical emergencies, basic life support and defibrillation.

Volunteer hours vary between work commitments. Gareth makes himself available approximately 16 hours per month.

Community First Responders wear a uniform and are on call for a particular area for the time they specify. The Welsh Ambulance Service contact them if there is a situation they can help with.

Marie Daly, Chief Customer and Culture Officer at Transport for Wales said: “Gareth is a fantastic example of our people going the extra mile for those in need in their communities, and we will do all we can to help our colleagues where they want to volunteer.

“Volunteering comes in all shapes and sizes; it could be caring for a friend or relative, helping out at a homeless shelter or running a local sports team.

“It’s so inspiring to hear of the brilliant work that goes on, often under the radar, so well done to all the volunteers out there.”

Judith Bryce, Assistant Director of Operations at the Welsh Ambulance Service said: “Volunteers like Gareth make such a difference to their communities and the people they help.

“We are always grateful for the generous gift of time from our volunteers across Wales who attend serious and often life-threatening emergencies.

“Our Community First Responders are a vital part of our service and we are constantly amazed by the dedication, quality of care and selflessness they bring to people.”

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