A SHORTAGE of emergency first responders and a desire to make their communities safer places to live and to work has prompted three North Craven parish councils to stage a joint, public meeting.

The councils of Austwick, Clapham -cum-Newby and Lawkland want to give people the skills to carry out cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and also to encourage villagers to train to become a community first responder.

Initiated by Austwick Parish Council, keenly supported by its neighbours, and by the Yorkshire Ambulance Service, the meeting on Saturday, February 2 will include input from trainers in CPR and in becoming a first responder.

Cllr Peter Goold, chairman of Austwick Parish Council, said:“A cardiac arrest or a serious accident can happen in your own home, or anywhere in our village or the local countryside.

“ For this reason, there is a real need for more of our own people in the parish, both young and old, to learn how to perform CPR confidently because it can save a life.”

He added: “We are also very short of first responders in our area and we need to see more people trained up to provide this vital service”.

Cllr Goold said it was hoped some of those who attended the meeting would sign up to undergo training in CPR at a meeting to be held sometime in the future.

“We want to remove some unknowns and anxieties about these matters and hopefully some of those who come to our meeting will sign up.”

Laraine Sullivan, who recently ran a successful CPR training programme in Ingleton, will be at the meeting to talk about CPR and to explain what is involved in the training.

Cllr Goold said: “ Yorkshire Ambulance Service is as keen as we are to increase the current low number of first responders in our area.

“Chrissy Blakeley is the community defibrillation trainer for Craven and she is coming to talk about the training needed to become a first responder. “

He added: “We have also asked one of our existing local first responders to come along and tell people about his experience of being one.”

The meeting will also include a demonstration of how a defibrillator works - something that not many people will have seen.

The meeting at Austwick Parish Hall on Saturday, February 2, will start at 11am. All welcome.