Community First Responders This website provides detailed information on the Community First Responder (CFR) volunteers that work for the South Central Ambulance Service NHS trust.
What is a Responder? A Community First Responder or CFR, is a member of the public, trained by the ambulance service, who volunteers to help in their community by responding to 999 calls and medical emergencies before the arrival of the emergency ambulance.


A Community First Responder (CFR)

This is typically what a Community First Responder (CFR) looks like when he or she attends an incident. They will be wearing a hi-visibility jacket or tabbard and carrying an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) and a backpack that contains an oxygen cylinder as well as all the additional first aid equipment they need to do their job.

Community First Responders travel to an incident in their own, unmarked vehicle, so don't expect blue flashing lights or a siren until the ambulance arrives. If possible get someone to stand outside and keep an eye open for the CFR and ambulance and direct them to the exact location, this is especially important at night; if you can, turn on an outside light and get someone to stand by the front door, this will speed up the process of getting assistance to the patient.

Automatic External Defibrillator

The AED is a semi-automatic device that "shocks" a heart that has stopped beating correctly. Typically when someones heart stops working properly it reduces or even stops the flow of blood around the body, this causes the patient to lose consciousness very quickly. The heart goes into a state where it is either beating too fast or out of synch and is therefore not pumping blood around the body efficiently. The AED detects this behaviour and allows the CFR to deliver a shock that "resets" the heart which hopefully allows it to start beating in rhythm again. The units are foolproof and will not allow a shock to be delivered unless the unit detects that the heart is not beating properly.

CFR Emergency Equipment Backpack

The equipment bag contains a cylinder of oxygen with several different types of masks to deliver it, including a Bag-Valve-Mask (BVM) to deliver 100% oxygen to a patient who has stopped breathing and inflate their lungs. The bag also contains Oropharyngeal airways (OPA's) to help keep an unconscious patients airway open. As well as several dressings, bandages, tape, gloves and so on. Everything a CFR will need to provide basic life support until the ambulance crew arrives.

The South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust, who run the Community First Responder schemes, trains all CFR's to the highest standard, so that they are familiar with all the equipment and comfortable in its use. They also undergo regular updates and additional training from time to time, as well as 3rd manning with the ambulance crews: This involves the CFR working a shift with their local ambulance service as an observer, in order to get more experience and knowledge of the types of incidents involved and to observe how the professionals approach the different situations.

Although the equipment is initially funded by the South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust, the schemes are run as a charity and groups are encouraged to fund raise within their community in order to contribute to the charity funds and to buy additional equipment, supporting the scheme as a whole.

Please Click Here for information on how to donate.