Community First Responders
Community First Responders
So what are Community First Responders; who are they and what do they do?
It is highly likely you may not have heard of Community First Responders and the work they do with the Ambulance Service, so hopefully this article will solve that.
This article focuses on Community First Responders in North East Ambulance Service (NEAS), however the basics are the same for all Community First Responders across the UK.
A First Responder is a volunteer who has been recruited and trained to act on behalf of the North East Ambulance Service, responding to emergency calls when dispatched by ambulance control. They will deal with a specific list of emergencies and provide the patient with support and appropriate treatment until an ambulance arrives.
They exist in towns and villages where it may be a challenge for the emergency ambulance to arrive within the crucial first few minutes.
Medical emergencies such as collapse, cardio-respiratory arrest, cardiac emergencies and neurological emergencies are all attended by Community First Responders, however under normal circumstances they will not attend cases with patients under 16, incidents with violence, drugs, alcohol, fire, traffic, chemical/gas, known mental health issues and maternity calls.
The Roles of Community First Responders
- To attend emergency calls as directed by the Ambulance Service
- Provide the appropriate and necessary treatment to a patient before an ambulance resource arrives
- To accurately record and inform the attending ambulance resource of any relevant history and treatment given
- The provision of continuing care under the direction of the ambulance response, where required
Who can be a Community First Responder?
- Adult volunteers of the local community (over 18 years)
- Volunteers who have a genuine desire to help people in need
- People who wish to use their first aid training and skills to make a real difference
- Volunteers who wish to give some time to an important voluntary organisations
- No prior medical training required
If this is of interest to you please look here for more details.
What Training is Involved?
Recently NEAS has been training all it’s Community First Responders on an intense 5 day course for the Level 3 Certificate for Ambulance Service Community First Responding.
In addition to the 5 course days students will complete over 140 hours of training including training on the following subjects:
- Human anatomy and physiology for immediate emergency care
- Assessment of casualties in immediate emergency care
- Basic airway management in emergency care
- Basic life support and external defibrillation
- Management of medical conditions
- Support the emergency care of wounds, bleeding and burns
- Management of injuries
- Recognition and management of anaphylaxis
- Principles of safeguarding and protecting children, young people or vulnerable adults
- Administration of medical gases in emergency care
“Blues and Two’s”
Community First Responders have a sun visor sign showing in their front windscreen; however these are only there as an indicator when parking up at incidents. On no occasion will Community First Responders be driving with blue lights or sirens when acting on behalf on the North East Ambulance Service NHS Trust.
Community First Responders will drive under normal conditions and adhere to the Highway Code, they will not be exempt from any driving laws.
How are Community First Responders Dispatched?
What equipment do Community First Responders use?
The North East Ambulance Service will identify items of equipment the Community First Responder scheme will require. This is generally: Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) – to provide life saving treatment in certain heart conditions: Suction device – to assist with resuscitation, car sunvisor signs, oxygen gas delivery system and a responder bag – a well stocked first aid kit.