Selfless people from across the north-east are giving up their time to help patients caught up in medical emergencies.
The volunteers are trained up as Scottish Ambulance Service community first responders to assist paramedics when emergency 999 calls are made.
Teams have also been instrumental in helping with the rollout of defibrillators across the region, including Westhill, Newmachar and Bridge of Don.
Prior medical training is not required for volunteers, as full training is provided so they can attend to patients on the street or in their homes.
Donald Montgomery, community resilience co-ordinator, who looks after the team in Grampian, Angus and Shetland, said: “We’re pretty well covered up in Grampian, I’ve got a really great team. They’re a fantastic bunch.
“Every month they have to do a training night, it’s not an option, but other than that they can sign up for as many hours of voluntary work as they want.
“They’ll be trained in things like CPR, how to use a defibrillator, how to treat asthma, burns etc. They are allowed to use oxygen as well.”
Once volunteers have been trained up, they have to go through a 25-question multiple choice exam, and are also observed attending to someone acting as a casualty before they can pass and become a first responder.
Donald said: “Once they are trained up, they can call in and say they’re available say Monday from 6pm until midnight, and if any calls come in they could be sent to them, as long as they’re within five minutes.
“They could also be called and asked to go further afield if their help is needed.”
Their assistance is helpful in a range of circumstances, such as cardiac arrests, where every minute counts, and the sooner someone arrives on the scene to administer CPR, the higher the chance of survival.
Community first responders will also be sent out to people with breathing difficulties and to deal with medical problems such as asthma, diabetes and epilepsy.
Despite their training, they do not attend road traffic accidents, any alcohol-related jobs, anything related to psychiatric issues, maternity calls or incidents involving a patient under the age of 16, although they are trained in paediatric care just in case.
A new team in Turriff is in the process of being set up, which will help provide more coverage in the area.
Several people have just completed their training and the process of looking for more volunteers will begin soon.
Anyone who wishes to join a group, or set up their own, is asked to get in contact with Donald, who can help give them the right information and support them. They must live within five to seven miles of the area they plan to cover.
Audrey Wood set up the Newmachar first responders group along with two others after getting in contact with the Scottish Ambulance Service around 15 years ago.
She said: “We’ve probably got enough people working with us, but we’d never say no to someone who would be able to volunteer through the day when the rest of us are at work.
“At this time of year we’d usually have been quite busy with falls, but we don’t cover that anymore. We’re kept busy, we’re on call every day.
“It’s extremely fulfilling. I’ve been doing it since we first started it up 15 years ago. The ambulance service have been really supportive and we’ve been really well supported by the community.
“Our motto is neighbours helping neighbours.
“We set it up because we were made aware of the length of time an ambulance can take from call to arrival time.
“You never feel like you’re alone, the ambulance service is only a call away.”