Being a Heartstarters volunteer - part two - Great Western Air Ambulance Charity
GWAAC Shop Cheltenham now open
July 13, 2022
Great Western Air Ambulance Charity and the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta
July 25, 2022
GWAAC Shop Cheltenham now open
July 13, 2022
Great Western Air Ambulance Charity and the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta
July 25, 2022

Being a Heartstarters volunteer – part two

In our blog Being a Heartstarters volunteer we learned why Emergency Care Assistant, Pino and Trainee Nurse Associate, Laura wanted to be Heartstarters volunteers and what they get out of it.

We’ve put the same questions to two more volunteers with very different backgrounds, showing that what unites our wonderful Heartstarters volunteers is their passion to educate the next generation in lifesaving cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) skills.

Hannah is a firefighter and Abi is a student, and both are making a real difference in their community.

By educating the next generation, they’re helping to strengthen the link in the chain of survival for people who suffer a cardiac arrest in the local area.

So, it’s over to Hannah and Abi in the hot seat, to share their experience of being Great Western Heartstarters (GWHS) volunteers and how it makes them feel.

Hannah Chorlton

Firefighter — Avon Fire and Rescue

Why did you want to get involved?

I’m a firefighter for Avon Fire and Rescue. I saw an advert asking for Heartstarters volunteers on the intranet at work. I didn’t know GWHS was a thing before that point, but it sounded like a great project.

When I was at school, no one taught me how to do CPR. I think everyone should have the opportunity to learn CPR from a young age.

As a firefighter working shifts, I get some time off. It feels good to do something productive on my days off.

How does being a GWHS volunteer make you feel?

It’s fulfilling seeing the kids learn about something so important. Some take it more seriously than others and are really invested which is great. But even those who are not as invested might come back to it one day having tried it once.

We give the children the knowledge to know how to act in an emergency situation. And knowing what to do builds confidence. I find the children engage most with the hands-on, try-it-for-yourself bits.

As a firefighter, we get training in rescue, trauma and casualty care, and we carry defibrillators in the fire engines. Being a Heartstarters volunteer is a really fulfilling way of being able to use the skills I’ve learned at work to help people in a different way — a preventative way.

Abi Smith

Student Paramedic — UWE

Why did you want to get involved?

I’ve been a student paramedic for two years and will be qualifying as a paramedic next summer (Which is WAY too soon, but also exciting at the same time!!!). I have only started volunteering with GWHS in the last few months, but already I love it and know I will be doing more sessions once exam season is done!

I wanted to join GWHS because of my passion for the educational side of the job. As we know, CPR is a vital skill and can increase the chances of survival for someone suffering a cardiac arrest.

I have a strong belief that everyone should learn CPR as it could potentially save someone’s life!

I do my best to share this skill with others by volunteering with GWHS. I aim to teach CPR to as many students as possible, and maybe even inspire them to become paramedics!

How does being a GWHS volunteer make you feel?

I enjoy being a Heartstarters volunteer because (without sounding too cheesy) you can really make a difference.

Students may one day find themselves in a situation with someone who is suffering a cardiac arrest. The sessions we deliver could be the difference between that patient living or dying, which makes running them so important.

I’m also a massive nerd when it comes to paramedicine so when I find students who are interested in becoming paramedics it gives me an opportunity to tell them all the wonderful aspects of the job, not just the big jobs, but the smaller ones where even a conversation with a lonely patient can make their day. 

Being a Heartstarters volunteer gives me a chance to practice my skills, meet new people and make a difference in the community.

Volunteering with Great Western Heartstarters

Here at GWAAC, our vision is that everyone receives the lifesaving pre-hospital emergency care they need, wherever they are, whenever they need it. This goes beyond the care we can provide at the scene of an incident.

Educating the next generation in CPR and defibrillation is just one of the ways we are helping to save lives in our community. This would not be possible without our hardworking dedicated team of volunteers, like Hannah and Abi.

Are you a healthcare professional wondering how you can put your skills to good use as a volunteer? Do you want to make a real difference in your community?

To find out more about being a Heartstarters volunteer, visit our Great Western Heartstarters web page. Also, our blog Thank you to our volunteers has a helpful section that allays some common concerns about being a volunteer.

Call Your Local Shop