Ipswich's life-saving dynamic duo

Julie and Mark Deer
Ipswich's life-saving dynamic duo
14 February 2013

Mark and Julie Deer are one of the most dedicated community first responder duos in the east of England.

Between them, they average two emergency call-outs every day and have been doing so for the last 10 years.

While at work for Suffolk County Council, Mark is on call covering Ipswich town centre and Julie, who works for Anglian Water covers the Stutton and Holbrook areas; at home they cover the villages to the north of Ipswich.

They will be celebrating Valentine's Day with a romantic meal but they know that anything could happen.

"I remember one year when we were going out for my birthday. I got a call before we'd even set off out of the door. We came home to get changed afterwards and were called out again; this was for a cardiac arrest and we were able to help restart the patient's heart that had stopped by using our defibrillator.

"We did manage to relax in the end and enjoy our evening but then went to an incident on the way home as well," says Mark.

They were the first to start the community first responder group in Ipswich and have been members of the medical charity, St John Ambulance for over 20 years.

They will often head-out in the middle of the night together, supporting each other at the emergencies.

"We both enjoy what we do and for us, it's about giving something back to the community.

"You just never know what you're going to meet when you turn-up at the address. I had a call once about a person with breathing difficulties, when I got there they were in cardiac arrest," says Julie.

Community first responders are volunteers who go to life-threatening emergencies. They are given equipment, and training that lasts two days.

"Responding together just offers that extra support and we don't have the safety concerns you would if you went out at night on your own. Valentine's day is as good a time as any to volunteer as a couple; you can do some amazing things together and actually save lives," adds Julie.

If you'd like to learn more about your local community first responder team, contact the East of England Ambulance Service via telephone on 01954 712400 or email responderadmin@eastamb.nhs.uk.

East of England Ambulance Headquarters
Whiting Way
Sat Nav postcode SG8 6NA