One man and his extraordinary backpack
On Saturday 28 January, Felixstowe Lions Club president David Cole and Lions Club community service director, Lisa Williams, met on-call firefighter, Michael Crisp, and station watch manager, Dave Edwards, at Felixstowe Fire Station.
Lisa Williams says: “We know that not all superheroes wear capes and guys like Michael wear multiple hats instead. David and I weren’t meeting Michael because he is an on-call firefighter – we met him because he is part of the Good Sam network.
“Michael said that losing his mum last year due to a cardiac related issue encouraged him to become a Good Sam Responder in her memory. He told us that the Good Sam network assist the East of England Ambulance service by responding to alerts sent to them via the Good Sam Responder service.
“I had never heard of the Good Sam network, but Michael explained that it is a network of voluntary responders who provide basic life support to those nearby in cardiac arrest while the ambulance is en-route to the casualty. These off-duty nurses, paramedics, doctors, police officers, firefighters and first aiders save many lives each year.
“A cardiac arrest is very serious and requires CPR and defibrillation in the initial moments to increase the possibility of survival. Having a person trained in CPR with an AED (automated external defibrillator) means someone can step in with the tools needed to save a life before the paramedics arrive – and every minute counts.”
The Good Sam network members are not issued with AEDs, so Michael started a fundraising page to purchase portable kit that can be carried to emergencies. President David Cole saw the fundraising page and the Lions were happy to support Michael with a donation towards the kit.
The kit, which is very neat and fits into a backpack, includes the main device – a box similar in size to a shoebox that contains pads, wires and operation instructions – and pouches that contain spare pads, wipes to clean and dry the chest, chest shaving tools, scissors to cut away clothing and one-way CPR masks – all one-time use items for infection control.
In January 2023, The East of England Ambulance service sent Michael seven alerts to assist them with cardiac arrests.
Lisa comments: “Just take a moment to think about that. In 28 days, seven people with cardiac arrest were helped by one man with a day job, an on-call fire fighter role and a modest backpack kit. What Michael and the Good Sam network members do is extraordinary.”
The story does not end with the kit…
Lisa explains: “It’s great news that Michael has the AED kit to help people in Felixstowe, but he needs ongoing support. Once a pad has been used it can’t be reused, and the same applies to the shaving kits and wipes – all things that are needed to save a life but can only be used once. The battery also needs replacing because it has five years of standby life if it’s not used, but we already know that Michael has had seven call-outs in January so there is no way the battery will last five years, and a defibrillator without a battery is useless.”
You can help Michael replace items in the kit through sponsorship or by donating via his Go Fund Me page: https://gofund.me/f048db4a
If you’d like to find out more about sponsorship, you can send Michael a text: 07878 858847
Kit wish list:
- New IPad defibrillator: £1,200
- Spare battery (standby life five years if not used): £238
- First aid rucksack: £27
- Replacement pads (can only be used once – pad life two years): £66
- Defibrillator responder kit (can only be used once): £14
- £14 buys a replacement mini kit.
- £66 buys a replacement set of pads.
- £80 could sponsor one lifesaving call-out by replacing the pads and mini kit.
- £100 could sponsor one lifesaving call-out by contributing towards a replacement battery.
Lisa adds: “Consider sponsoring a call-out or making a donation in memory of a loved one or in honour of someone you love. Any amount will help.”