First responder Jos Geverink: ‘Anyone can set this up’
Jos Geverink (53) is a registered first responder. He does this work since the organised first response in his hometown of Laren-Noord first started in January of 2013. Jos tells Stan how it got set up in his area.
People in the neighbourhood were thinking about putting up an AED in a local café. They soon found out that putting up only one AED wouldn’t be enough. Because it only gives the impression of safety. We thought more action was required. An information evening was organised for local residents and two other neighbourhood associations joined in. We then created a working group to set up the project.
We started by sending out a questionnaire to residents in our work area, which is about 25 square kilometres (9.6 mi2). We wanted to know if there was support for the project, and thankfully, there was plenty. We really only got positive responses.
The working group set up a budget for the education of volunteers, purchase of AEDs and casings to house them in. To gather those funds, we looked for sponsors. We asked local entrepreneurs to contribute and received quite a lot of response. We also wrote national funds, including the Rabobank Cooperative Fund. This fund supports projects in their own work area that are worthwhile. It sponsored us with a considerable sum. From our own residents, we asked a starting donation and yearly contribution.
AED maintenance and education
One of the things we want to use this money for is the maintenance of AED and the yearly training of our first responders. After a year, the Laren-Noord first response was operational: from the first evening to putting up and installing AEDs. We celebrated with an opening procedure, followed by a bike ride along all the AEDs. This allowed us to show people where they are located and what we spent the money on.
Support among residents is considerable. At the start of the project, people indicated that this is what they wanted, AEDs in their area. And made it a reality. We calculated at the time that we would need eight AEDs in our area. Five of those were spontaneously donated to us. From personal contributions and fund raising among residents and local entrepreneurs, all AEDs are now up and running. In terms of first responders, we are now almost at an average of one per household.
First response can be achieved anywhere
I am convinced that everyone can set up organised first response in their area. Even in sparsely populated rural areas, as we have experienced for ourselves. And you don’t have to do everything by yourself. Call or e-mail other areas where they have AEDs for advice; it’s what we did. You don’t have to figure it all out for yourself. This can be set up anywhere.