Community First Responders
Community First Responders are volunteer members of the
community who are trained to respond to emergency calls through the
999 system in conjunction with the South East Coast Ambulance
Service NHS Foundation Trust.
Community responders are not a substitute for
the ambulance crews, but because they are based within the
community in which they live or work, they are able to attend the
scene of an emergency in a very short time often within the first
few minutes and in the majority of incidents they would be first on
scene. The responder can then begin vital life saving first aid
before the arrival of an ambulance, further increasing the
patient’s chance of survival.
Why do we use Community First Responders?
The primary role of a Community First Responder (CFR) is to
provide life-saving emergency treatment in their local area. To
prevent deterioration, promote recovery, preserve life.
Each day, approximately 170* people in the UK suffer a Sudden
Cardiac Arrest (SCA). Early defibrillation within the first few
minutes can save up to 75% of all SCA’s
In addition, CFRs carry other medical equipment including
dressings, oxygen and some drugs. This further benefits patients
whilst waiting for an ambulance.
Whilst South East Coast Ambulance Service performs very well, we
have to recognise that there are some communities that are
extremely difficult to reach. Even if we significantly
increased our ambulance resources, we would still not be able to
deliver the speed of response necessary to get to some patients
with life threatening conditions. This is where the role of
the community first responder is vital.
Our aim within South East Coast Ambulance Service is to
provide the appropriate care to life threatening emergency calls
within 8 minutes. Sometimes, particularly in the case of
cardiac arrest calls, this can still be too long and this is where
the local community first responder role is of particular
* Resuscitation Council (UK)
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