Who are the Community First Responders?
Community First Responders are groups who support the ambulance service by attending emergency calls for cardiac and respiratory cases. In these cases, they will be the first people on scene, giving potentially life-saving medical aid prior to the arrival of an ambulance crew.
The essential service provided by Community First Responders helps to save lives across the UK, but as with Blood Bike groups they need our support in order to continue their work.
It is important to note that Community First Responders are not a substitute for the Ambulance Service.
Community First Responders operate within their local communities, where they are able to attend the scene of an emergency call in a very short time; often within the first few minutes and, in the majority of incidents, they will be first on scene.
Their early intervention further increases the patient’s chance of survival. In some cases they may not need to bring out and use equipment but just provide the simple reassurance that the ambulance crew are on their way.
In the past year the following call outs for Community First Responders have occurred in the East Of England alone.
Total calls attended by CFRs in year 2013 to 2014 =21,800
Cardiac arrests attended = 330
Heart Attack (chest pain) = 1466
Stroke = 568
Community First Responder Videos
As part of raising awareness of Community First Responder groups we are travelling around Suffolk, Essex and East Anglia meeting the 100’s of people who volunteer their time as a Community First Responder to help save lives in their community.
The videos are called ‘Now you see me’ and they each ‘reveal’ the volunteers who walk among us every day going about their lives but at any point they could be on duty as a Community First Responder. Their role is to have the unit mobile to hand at all times waiting for a call or text from the East Of England Ambulance Service controllers who relay where the emergency is.
What sort of incidents do Community First Responders get called to – do they only go to those that the Ambulance Service consider not worth sending an ambulance to?
Most certainly not is the answer. If there is an ambulance 999 call in our area and we are on duty – we get sent. In fact we are probably at our most valuable when there is a dire emergency because they can get to an incident far faster than an ambulance. They are already in your Community!
As we are fully trained by the Ambulance service and officially appointed Community First Responders, we are able to administer vital, life-saving first aid treatment before the arrival of an Ambulance crew.
For example, if you or a relative had a heart attack they could be on the scene in minutes: their medical kit carries the same resuscitation equipment as an ambulance crew, and their volunteers are fully trained to use it.
Of course they all hope the equipment won’t be necessary, but if it is, the time saved in getting to you could mean the difference between life and death.
How do they know of an incident?
When you dial 999, the control room will dispatch a First Responder team (if available) in addition to the ambulance. It is simply that, because of our proximity, we can arrive sooner, and start procedures that may save precious time, and with it, a life, your life or that of a loved one perhaps!
Fuel for Life is supporting Community First Responders across the East of England Ambulance Service and hopes to soon be helping groups across the UK! Please help by donating to your local group via our website.
Suzanne’s Story: “In 2010 I was involved in a very serious car accident; Volunteer Doctor VJ Sander came to my aid and provided me with vital roadside critical care, reassurance and expertise. He is a Consultant at one of our local hospitals who volunteers on his days off and spare time to fly with the Magpas Helimedix team to provide such care to anyone in need. Without his prompt actions and those of others, I would not be here today. It takes an amazing, dedicated and selfless person to spend their spare time volunteering their services. After meeting this gentleman to say thank you in person, I really can say what a ‘gentle man’ he was, very humble and considered this to be ‘ just his job’. I would like to nominate him for his amazing services and care, without people like him there would be many others not here to ‘tell their tale’.
Magpas patient Suzanne Martin kindly nominated Magpas Dr VJ Sanker for the Sunday Telegraph British Volunteer Awards. From 800 entries, VJ got through to the final 60 which is wonderful news! The above statement is what Suzanne emailed to the newspaper about VJ.