Meet the Bognor dad dedicating his life to helping save others

Nathan Jackson works voluntarily with Good Sam - a social enterprise set up to work with ambulance and pre-hospital services to enable qualified bystanders to provide life saving carein emergencies.
Nathan Jackson works voluntarily with Good Sam - a social enterprise set up to work with ambulance and pre-hospital services to enable qualified bystanders to provide life saving carein emergencies.

An emergency service volunteer from Bognor Regis, who regularly attends life-threatening incidents, is seeking help to increase people's chance of survival.

Bersted dad-of-three Nathan Jackson works for the South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAmb) as an emergency medical adviser in Chichester and Bognor. Alongside this role, he volunteers for Good Sam — a social enterprise set up to work with ambulance and pre-hospital services to enable qualified bystanders to provide life-saving care in emergencies.

Nathan has started a fundraiser to help him buy his own defibrillator to take with him in emergencies

Nathan has started a fundraiser to help him buy his own defibrillator to take with him in emergencies

Nathan, 29, said: "I respond voluntarily in my own time at no expense to the NHS, community or local ambulance trust to people in cardiac arrest who are not breathing.

"This role has no funding and is run and organised by Good Sam.

"I have an app on my phone which automatically alerts me if someone is having a cardiac arrest within a mile. It could be here in Bognor, Horsham, London, anywhere. I would never question it. The ambulance service in Bognor comes from Tangmere so it can take 30 minutes to arrive.

"So far I have responded to numerous people who require help in and around my home town of Bognor Regis. I do this to give back to our community.

"More and more ambulance services are starting to use it but it is not widely known. A paramedic arriving at a scene after me once, asked why I was there."

Nathan, who currently has to collect a defibrillator on his way to emergencies, is now trying to raise money to buy his own personal one to have with him.

Family incident was the inspiration behind life-saving work

Nathan was inspired to sign up after his brother-in-law narrowly survived a heart attack at the Arena Sports Centre in July thanks to the actions of staff.

He added: "I have a lot of personal reasons for doing it. I have had a lot of bereavement in my life in recent years.

"My wife's brother also recently had a cardiac arrest at the leisure centre. I have no doubt that Dan's life was saved by the staff's actions.

"He is doing alright now. He is on the road to recovery.

"He is back at home now with his fiance, looking after their son. He is back to being himself. The whole family feel very lucky and thankful. It was very scary. It was touch and go at first.

"He is not an old guy. He is young so it was a big shock. You don't expect it to happen to young people."

'There are not enough paramedics'

Nathan, who is registered with charity Serv Sussex, said SECAmb enrolled with Good Sam 'not too long' before his brother-in-law's incident and if he had signed up a week earlier, he would have likely been first on the scene.

"That is scary to think about," he said.

"I know how strained the ambulance are so community first responders are so important. There are not enough paramedics and not enough ambulances.

"The volunteers there before the ambulance service save lives. I have been doing first aid for 12-15 years and there are people who are first aid trained but are terrified to do it. It is a scary experience and I wouldn't want many people to have to do it.

"I have got children myself. Most would panic in a situation where your own child needs help but I am lucky that I have got this skill and I don't have to worry about it. I can deal with the situation and then worry afterwards.

"This has 100 per cent spurred me on to respond to people in cardiac arrest."

Nathan said he is nearly always on call, revealing that one of his recent call-outs came on the day of his wedding anniversary.

He said: "We are allowed to sign off on any given day but I have only done so once in eight to ten weeks.

"I absolutely love doing it. If I can do it, others can.

"I enjoy helping people as it makes me complete. I have three children and an amazing wife. We would do anything to help as I would want someone to help out my family."

'Minutes cost lives'

With the knowledge that 'minutes cost lives', Nathan has now started a fundraiser to help him buy his own one to keep at home.

He said: "AEDs (Automated External Defibrillators) can be found in yellow boxes outside railway stations as well as dentists but unfortunately people steal them.

"The chances of survival reduce 10 to 12 per cent a minute so the time it takes to find a defibrillator could be costly. Picking up a defibrillator is five or six minutes gone.

"I am now trying to raise funds to buy one of my own to keep at home so I can take it with me. It will be providing life saving equipment.

"I have been assured that, either way, I would be able to take a defibrillator from the ambulance service but, having by own one, would increase the chance of survival.

"I have messages from people who want to know how they can get a defibrillator for their local neighbourhood. In America, there is a defibrillator on every street.

"I would love for the government to put money in better places like this."

Nathan has so far raised £365 towards his £2,000 target. Any further money left over after the equipment is bought, will be donated to Kent, Sussex and Surrey Air Ambulance.

Click here to donate and here to find out more about Good Sam.