What is a Community First Responder scheme?
Community First Responder Schemes are teams of volunteers who are trained by West Midlands Ambulance Service to a nationally recognised level and provide lifesaving treatment to people in their local communities. Community First Responders are always backed up with the nearest available emergency vehicle.
Why are the Schemes so important?
The government’s white paper “Saving Lives - Our Healthier Nation”, stressed the importance of early public access defibrillation. In partnership with the British Heart Foundation the West Midlands Ambulance Service set up Community First Responder schemes across the region.
In many illnesses or injuries the first few minutes are critical and simple interventions can be performed in order to save lives or prevent disability. West Midlands Ambulance Service is committed to providing the highest standard of pre-hospital patient care at all times.
In the U.K. 135,000 people die each year due to what is commonly known as a heart attack or myocardial infarction. Two thirds of these deaths happen outside of the hospital environment. Death is often due to a lethal, but treatable, electrical abnormality in the heart called ventricular fibrillation (VF) and only one treatment has been found to be effective; DEFIBRILLATION.
The Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs) are easy to use and talk the user through step-by-step instructions.
Minutes save lives. The sooner a defibrillator is used the better chance the patient has of surviving. After a patient has collapsed following a heart attack and is having VF, every minute that a defibrillator is not used the chances of survival reduces by 10 %. This is where a Community First Responder can save lives.
Volunteers should be:
- Aged 18 +
- Have a current driving licence
- Be physically fit
- Be able to attend incidents whilst at home or work
- Have a caring nature and be willing to help raise the profile of the schemes in local areas
- Successful applicants will need to pass a Criminal Records Bureau check
Training and assessment
In order to be a volunteer you must attend a training course. The I.H.C.D. ‘First Person On Scene’ award is held over 4 weekends. The course covers the following aspects of emergency care.
- Module 1 - Introduction, Basic Life Support and Defibrillation.
- Module 2 - Medical Emergencies.
- Module 3 - Traumatic Emergencies.
- Module 4 - Preparing for Active Duty.
The Community First Responder must also complete training with ambulance crews and a Community Paramedic before going live.
West Midlands Ambulance Service will provide regular training in a variety of subjects.
All CFR schemes are designed to be financially self-supporting. Although the Ambulance Service will provide all necessary support, training and the loan of medical equipment, it is likely that CFR schemes will wish to become involved in a variety of fundraising events in support of their work.
Responding to a call
If a Community First Responder is available and a ‘999’ call is received within a 7 minutes travelling time from their address, the Ambulance Service may pass the details of the case and ask them to respond.
If a Community First Responder is driving to an incident then the Highway Code must be obeyed at all times.
Once on scene the Community First Responder will provide treatment as they have been trained to do until the nearest available emergency vehicle arrives.
If you are interested in becoming a local Community First Responder, why not contact us for details by choosing the relevant location from the right-hand side menu or contact our CFR Admin Office by email or call 01384 215855.
Why not join the success story?