What do Community First Responders do?

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Why Community First Responders are needed

East Midlands Ambulance Service always seeks to provide the fastest possible response to emergency calls using its ambulances or fast response cars. However, for patients experiencing a life-threatening medical emergency, every second counts. For example, in a cardiac arrest situation, for every minute that passes without defibrillation the patient’s chance of survival can decrease by up to 10%.

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It is also true that the ambulance service is seeing unprecedented levels of demand and so at peak times or for some more rural and hard to reach communities the response time for an ambulance can be extended.

For these reasons, Community First Responders came into being, working in partnership with (but never replacing) the ambulance service to provide immediate, possibly life-saving care, prior to the arrival of an ambulance crew.

CFR’s are a vital link in the chain or survival, able to make simple but critical interventions in the vital minutes where a life can be saved or a patient stabilised.

What is involved in being a Community First Responder

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Our CFR’s are trained and dispatched by East Midlands Ambulance Service. All of our responders are able to deal with patients over the age of 12 and carry equipment including a defibrillator and oxygen together with kit to manage an airway or take medical observations.

Some of our responders have further training to administer limited drugs (for example in a severe asthma attack or diabetic emergency), to deal with traumatic injuries (such as falls, burns or cuts) and to assist patients as young as just one-day old.

The types of incidents dealt with by our responders are set out below.

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However, we are volunteers and our training cannot equip us to deal with every incident that our ambulance service colleagues might encounter. Therefore we are not knowingly dispatched to road traffic collisions, to incidents involving mental health or maternity, or to any incidents where weapons, assault, drugs or alcohol might be a factor. Whatever the incident, and whatever our training, very often our role can come down to simple reassurance, comforting the patient and those around them.

The equipment we need

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We are grateful to the ambulance service who provide our training. However, we are solely reliant on charitable donations for the equipment that we carry. To fully equip a new responder costs around £1,500 with the most expensive piece of equipment being the automated external defibrillator, most often called the AED or defib.

Some of our equipment is very simple and low cost - an oropharyngeal airway is used to maintain the airway of an unconscious person and can cost as little as 30p.

We also carry an assortment of masks for the administration of oxygen and equipment to take blood pressure, assess oxygen saturation levels, monitor pulse and test blood glucose levels.

As you might have guessed, all of that requires a bag capable of enduring a fair amount of wear and tear.

Want to support us?

We are grateful for all those who are able to financially support us, even the smallest donation is valuable to us and allow us to buy essential equipment. If you would like to help, please follow the link to the Support us page

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CPR Demonstration by Trent District CFR