What is a CFR?

Community First Responders volunteer their spare time to be available for selected 999 calls to help other members of the community.

Volunteers can be male or female, aged over eighteen years. They must have access to a car and be able to attend emergency calls from either their home or place of work as soon as they are received.

Community First ResponderWhilst a responder is on call in their local area or at their workplace, they can continue with their normal activities until a call is received. They can attend if possible or reject the call if deemed inappropriate.

A Community First Responder needs to be extremely reliable and trust worthy, good under pressure, able to remain calm in emergency situations, be caring when dealing with patients and have a reasonable level of physical fitness.

Regular monthly refresher training is recommended and encouraged which is provided by the local or nearby scheme.

Prospective responders have to undergo a Criminal Records Bureau Check (CRB) which is carried out by the Ambulance Trust following a successful interview.

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.

Community First Responder Kit

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 benefit.

* Resuscitation Council (UK)