What is a Community First Responder Scheme?

A Community First Responder Scheme is made up from volunteers who live, or work, within a community and have been trained to attend certain emergency 999 calls by The East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust. They are trained to deliver basic life support and defibrillation to patients in cardiac arrest, administer oxygen where necessary and provide emergency first aid until an ambulance arrives.

What is a Community First Responder?

Each volunteer agrees to undertake training in order to be able to provide life saving treatment to those people within the community who are critically injured or ill, in the first few minutes prior to the arrival of an ambulance.

If you live in or around Debenham, when you call 999 for a medical emergency, the control desk will dispatch an ambulance and if it is appropriate, will also call the on duty member of the Community First Response team who should be able to get there sooner than an ambulance. Appropriate calls include but are not limited to; falls, breathing problems, lacerations, chest pains and strokes.

Community First Responders will not be asked to attend trauma calls, i.e. road accidents or any known violent or dangerous situations, or to patients under the age of 8 unless they have received additional paediatric specific training.

What does First Responder training involve?

Every volunteer will receive training in the delivery of Basic Life Support (BLS) and the use of an Automated External Defibrillator (AED). Volunteers are also trained in recognising and providing initial treatment for a number of medical emergencies, and in following required procedures.

Following training, each volunteer will be assessed for competence in the delivery of BLS and the use of the AED. There is a statutory requirement to take refresher training at least every three months and reassessment every six months.

Do First Responders drive like the emergency services?

Community First Responders are asked to attend serious medical incidents within their community, but are not to break the speed limit and must drive safely and comply with all Road Traffic Act regulations. There are no exceptions and failure to follow the regulations may lead to prosecution. Under no circumstances will Community First Responders be authorised to use blue or green flashing lights.

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