What is a First Responder?
The Resuscitation Council (UK) states that a First Responder is "a person, trained as a minimum in basic life support and the use of a defibrillator, who attends a potentially life-threatening emergency."

Who is a Community First Responder? A Community First Responder is a local volunteer who agrees to undertake training in Basic Life Support, This then enables them to provide life saving treatment to those people within the community who are critically ill, in the first few minutes prior to the arrival of an ambulance.

Why do we need Community First Responders? In 1990 Dr Richard Cummins from Seattle, USA discovered if a series of events took place, in a set sequence, a patient suffering from a heart attack stood a greater chance of survival. These events are now known as the 'Chain of Survival'

Chain Of Survival

  • Early Recognition & Call for help
  • Early CPR
  • Early Defibrillation
  • Early Advanced Care

Community First Responders are an integral and valued link in the 'Chain of Survival' in areas that experience an extended journey time, as they can provide essential simple treatments in those crucial first few minutes prior to the arrival of the Ambulance.

Do Community First Responders replace Ambulances?
NO, as with the 'Chain of Survival', Community First Responders can provide the early CPR & Defibrillation but in order to complete the sequence and increase the patient's chance of survival, Early Advanced Care or an Ambulance Response must also be dispatched to the incident.

What type of incidents do Community First Responders get sent to?
Community First Responders can expect to be sent to:

  • Chest Pain
  • Cardiac Arrest
  • Strokes and stroke related conditions
  • Difficulty in Breathing or Choking
  • Medical Collapse or Unconscious Patients

Community First Responders will not knowingly be sent to:

  • Assaults or Incidents of a violent nature
  • Incidents in a Public house
  • Road Traffic Collisions
  • Children under the age of 2 years old
  • Pregnancy
  • Traumatic Injuries

What training do Community First Responders receive?
All First Responders will undergo IHCD (Institute of Health Care & Development) FPOS (First Person on Scene) Basic training. This course has been devised in association with the Royal College of Surgeons.

How long will the initial training last?
The course is delivered over three days at weekends. The first two days, you are taught CPR, how to place a patient in the recovery position, use a defibrillator and other equipment. You are taught how to deal with adult and paediatric patients (over the age of 2 years). The following weekend, you return to be assessed.

Will I have to be assessed and how often?
After the initial course assessment, every Community First Responder (CFR) is then re-assessed every 6 months (for paediatric patients) and every 12 months for adult patients.

Will I get paid for being on call or attending an incident?
No. It is unpaid voluntary work.

How do I get to an incident?
It is essential that you own or have access to a car and hold a FULL UK driving licence.

Will it affect my car insurance?
Not usually, but some insurance companies may make a small charge depending on your current policy. None of our current volunteers have incurred a charge from their insurance companies. The East of England Ambulance Service will provide you with a letter for your insurance company, explaining the role of a Community First Responder.

Are Community First Responders exempt from any driving laws?
All First Responders will undergo a driving and driving licence check, but on no occasion will Community First Responders be driving with blue lights or sirens nor will they be exempt from any Driving Laws.

Can I exceed the speed limit when responding to a call?
No. All volunteers must adhere to the Highway Code at all times and are not allowed to exceed the speed limit or ignore any traffic sign

Who is responsible for the First Responders?
As volunteers within your community, acting on behalf of the East of England Ambulance Service, an appropriate level of conduct must be adhered to at all times.
Only when a Community First Responder has been dispatched by the Ambulance Control Centre to a specific incident, are they then acting on behalf of the Ambulance Service. At all other times they are responsible for their own actions.