BENFLEET first responders say they are getting busier by the week.

East of England Ambulance Service volunteer community first responders, are now being called to an average of 900 emergencies a month across the region, compared with 700 last year, according to figures released during National Volunteers’ Week.

The increase has been put down to a new control room setup and a text alert system, which allows life-saving responders to be contacted faster and more easily.

Benfleet’s first responders have been called to 241 incidents this year so far.

David Flood, from the Benfleet group, said: “We are always busy and now we have more members, we can cover more hours of the day.”

The group was started in 2005, and now has eight trained firstaiders, each of whom is on standby as much as 16 hours a month.

Mr Flood said: “We are being utilised more. Our training manager is a trainee paramedic, so we have built up a good relationship with the local ambulance service.”

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