Providing support to first-response emergency
medical care in the Avon Valley of South
Warwickshire in partnership with the West
Midlands Ambulance Service

What Community First Responders do

Community First Responders are people who live in the community to which they serve, they are retained on a voluntary basis by the West Midlands Ambulance service and are dispatched to areas of their community where people have suffered trauma or a sudden life-threatening illness. The Community First Responder is trained by the West Midlands Ambulance Service to a nationally accredited qualification to give Emergency Life Saving treatment until the Emergency ambulance resource arrives on scene. The Community First Responder does not replace the Ambulance Service paramedics but bridges the gap between the 999 call and the arrival of the Ambulance Service.

In many illnesses or injury the first few minutes are crucial and simple interventions can be performed in order to save lives or prevent disability. The West Midlands Ambulance Service is committed to providing the highest standard of pre-hospital care at all times.

In the UK, nearly 150,000 people die each year from sudden Cardiac Arrest. 80% of these deaths happen outside of the hospital environment. 85% of Cardiac Arrests are a result of a sudden disruption to the electrical conductivity system of the heart called Ventricular Fibrillation (VF). VF is made treatable at hospital by early access to CPR and the use of a Defibrillator.

Minutes save lives. The sooner a defibrillator is used the better chance the patient has of surviving. After a patient has collapsed following a Cardiac Arrest every minute that a defibrillator is not used the chances of survival reduces by 7 - 10%. This is where the Community First Responder can save lives.

If a 999 call is made within a set radius from the Community First Responder’s address, the ambulance service may pass the details to the First Responder and request them to attend the incident. The ambulance service will always dispatch the nearest ambulance resource to the call first. Once on scene the Community First Responder will provide emergency treatment to the patient until the ambulance paramedic arrives and takes over the advanced care of the patient.

The type of Emergency the Community First Responder is trained to attend are:

  • Cardiac arrest
  • Heart attacks
  • Strokes
  • Choking
  • Diabetic emergencies
  • Traumatic emergencies

Each Community First Responder carries a kit which contains life-saving equipment such as a defibrillator, oxygen, and various other items of equipment to help and assist with the treatment of the patient.  First Responders represent the West Midlands Ambulance Service each time they are called and as such, they have a duty to abide by the Scope of Practice for a CFR just like the cod of conduct for any other member of the WMAS.  Responders wear a dark  uniform with hi-visibility jackets which are clearly marked with the ambulance logo and the words, 'Community First Responder'.