A RUNCORN mum is giving up her own time to save lives.

Caroline McDonnell is a qualified Community First Responder and helps ambulance crews from the North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust respond to emergencies anywhere in Halton.

Caroline now has a defibrillator, a vital piece of equipment that can potentially save the life of anyone who suffers a sudden cardiac arrest.

She carries her kit with her all the time.

Caroline, aged 31, of The Calvers, said: “Anyone at any time can suffer a cardiac arrest. Having this life saving equipment on hand without doubt can save lives.”

The machine works by sending an electric pulse through the chest in an attempt to restore normal heart rhythm.

If used in the first five minutes after a patient collapses, it provides the best chance of survival.

Caroline has a four-year-old daughter, Kaela-Maria. Her husband, John, aged 31, is a joiner.

She originally wanted to be a full-time paramedic but after graduating with a sports science degree and starting a family, she changed her mind.

Caroline, a part-time customer service advisor at the 02 call centre in Preston Brook, said: “I am usually on call on Friday evenings. I check in with the ambulance control and carry a pager. I could receive an emergency call at any time. We attend a varied number of incidents, cardiac arrests, respiratory problems and falls.

“I love the role and the fact that I can give something back to the local community. It’s so satisfying to know that I have the ability and skills to save a life. I can’t think of doing anything better. It is very rewarding.”