The vital role of community first responders …

From South Western Ambulance Trust:


South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) is celebrating the fantastic vital work of its selfless volunteers across the region who help people in their time of need.

As part of Volunteers’ Week, SWASFT is shining the spotlight on its thousands of volunteer responders who provide essential support to patients throughout the South West.

The volunteers include hundreds of Community First Responders (CFRs) who attend emergencies and care for patients before paramedics arrive, and often save lives.


Rob Horton, SWASFT Responder Manager, said: “We are extremely grateful to all our amazing volunteers who give up their time to be there when the community calls.

“I am so proud to work with these people who make such a difference to us and our patients. Thank you to you all.”

CFRs are trained volunteers who attend emergency incidents on behalf of SWASFT within their local communities. They respond to particular types of 999 calls where it is essential for the patient to receive immediate lifesaving care. These include conditions such as cardiac arrest, chest pain, breathing difficulties, unconscious patients, fitting and stroke. Their aim is to reach the patient in the vital minutes before the ambulance crew arrives.

Some CFRs also attend incidents in which patients have had a non-injury fall, but are unable to get up. These responders assess and move patients from the floor to a sitting or standing position, using a specialist lifting device and with support from clinicians in the 999 Control Hubs.

SWASFT has a range of volunteer responders, including:

• Community First Responders – volunteers who support their local community by attending emergency calls ahead of an ambulance;

• St John Ambulance Community First Responders – volunteers who under their work with St John Ambulance, respond within their local community ahead of an ambulance;

• Fire Co-Responders – retained firefighters who attend emergency calls on behalf of the Trust, as part of their day to day role with the fire and rescue service;

• RNLI Co-Responders – lifeguards who patrol beaches and respond to local incidents;

• Establishment-based Responders – staff who respond to an incident that may occur during their normal working date, for example in a railway station or shopping centre;

• Staff Responders – ambulance clinicians who volunteer to attend emergencies in their local communities on their day off.

SWASFT covers one of the most rural areas of the UK and is committed to providing the population of the South West with the highest standard of out-of-hospital care.

If you are interested in becoming a Community First Responder, please visit NHS Jobs to find out more about SWASFT recruitment in your area.

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