In the year 1988, ambulanceman Jeff Barr saved the life of his wife’s uncle the first time he had to use his new paramedic skills.

Their ambulance had raced through Greenodd as heart attack victim Mr Harry Millburn’s condition worsened.

In Dalton, Jeff was already monitoring the situation with a defibrillator and thanks to the swift electric shocks he was able to revive Harry.

A fortnight later, Harry was back at home and on the road to recovery in Cherry Garth in Coniston.

Without the paramedic skills which Jeff and his colleague Dave Chorlton had used, the situation could not been resolved.

At the time it was not uncommon for an ambulance to take hours in order to take a patient to Furness General, which was why skills such as those were taught as often as possible.

Furthermore, it was very difficult at the time to keep the blood flow stable while in the back of a moving ambulance.

It was skills like this the service wished for as many people as possible to know.

In 1997, bosses at Cumbria’s emergency services recognised the necessity of beginning treatment as soon as possible.

This triggered the start of a pilot scheme which offered initial medical advice and category calls which could assist before the ambulance arrived.

Paramedics would then be passed pre-arrival details about the situation which would assist and resolve the incidents.

Alan Dockersely, chief executive of the service, said: “The concept behind this criteria-based dispatch system is to save lives that can be saved.”

Category A calls would be life-threatening and include all children under the age of 12.

They could expect an ambulance to arrive within eight minutes but 90 per cent of the time it would be shorter.

All other calls would be categorised as B, which meant ambulances would reach a patient in 19 minutes or less.

This would occur 95 per cent of the time.

Mr Dockersely said: “If someone stops breathing, we can tell the caller to turn them into the appropriate position and pinch their nose, giving them immediate life-saving treatment.

“There are clinical benefits to the patient and psychological benefits to the caller because they are doing something useful.”