Find out abit more about North Warwickshire Community First Responders.
What we do
Over the last decade or so, ambulance services across the country have been introducing Community First Responder schemes into their areas.
North Warwickshire First Responders (CFR) scheme is a life-saving partnership of volunteers working with West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) in the North Warwickshire Area. As authorised volunteers the CFRs help to reduce the number of pre-hospital deaths.
Community First Responders (CFRs) are trained to provide life-saving treatment to patients in the vital first few minutes of an emergency until an ambulance crew arrives. If effective treatment is provided quickly, lives can be saved and disability reduced. This is especially true for cardiac arrest heart attacks and medical conditions which have caused someone to lose consciousness.
Cardiac Arrest is where the electricity in the heart stops working properly and is responsible for one-hundred-thousand deaths per year in the UK alone. Statistically, for each minute that the use of an Automated External Defibrillator is delayed in a patient suffering from Cardiac Arrest their chances of survival are reduced by up to 10%. Community First Responder schemes are implemented to be able to provide immediate emergency care.
When a 999 call is received in the ambulance service operations centre, an ambulance response is dispatched. At the same time, a CFR on-call in the area can be alerted and asked to attend the incident to ensure that help reaches the patient as quickly as possible.
As our volunteers are based within the community, they may only be a minute or two away from a medical emergency and very often their role is to simply provide vital reassurance to patients and their families until the ambulance crew arrives. However, in extreme cases, such as a cardiac arrest, they can perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and use an automated external defibrillator (AED) to try and restart someone’s heart, which can potentially save their life.
The volunteers usually respond from their own homes into their local areas at the same time as a paramedic is dispatched. They often arrive on scene before the paramedic as they often know the areas better. The first few minutes at any emergency are crucial in giving the patients the best chance of survival and recovery.
Each Community First Responder in North Warwickshire carries an AED with them along with other items such oxygen and associated masks, trauma kit and other items that assist them whilst awaiting for an ambulance to arrive.
Getting to you
Community First Responders book on duty with West Midlands Ambulance Service Emergency Operations Centre. They are then dispatched by them when a call for help is required and it is in scope for a CFR to attend. If using their own vehicle the EOC will call them on a mobile phone to inform them of the incident. We are lucky that we have 2 dedicated vehicles which are fitted with equipment that links direct to the EOC and has radios for direct communication.
Whilst most of the consumables we use are supplied by the ambulance service, the running costs of the cars and uniform are not. We rely on public donations to keep this vital service running. If you feel you can help by making a donation please see our donations page.
Each CFR is trained by the ambulance service to a level they can respond to life threatening emergencies. They are trained in the use of an AED and how to give CPR. They are also trained in other areas such as how to recognise a stroke, deal with bleeding and more importantly how to reassure a patient and their family.
1 When a member of the public dials 999 for an ambulance a call taker will answer the call. They will then create an incident and offer advice over the telephone, the incident is then sent to a dispatcher who will send a resource to you which may include a CFR if they are close by and can render aid.
2 The CFR will receive notification of the incident. If they are in their own vehicle they will get a message via the text message system and also a telephone call from the EOC. If a CFR is in a scheme car they will receive the information via the in car computer and also via the radio and are disptached to the incident.
3 Once a CFR arrives at an incident they will offer basic life support if it is required. If BLS is not required they will carry out other observations and will wait with the patient until an ambulance arrives. They will relay the information to the ambulance crew and then will either remain on scene to help the crew or may clear to another incident