Why do we need community first responders?

Thirty years ago, it was discovered that if a series of events took place, in a set sequence, a patient suffering from a heart attack stood a greater chance of survival. These events are now known as the 'Chain of Survival'. Although it is an important link in the Chain of Survival, CPR alone cannot fully resuscitate a person in sudden cardiac arrest. Early defibrillation is the most significant link. Most sudden cardiac arrest victims are in ventricular fibrillation (VF), an electrical malfunction of the heart that causes the heart to twitch irregularly. Defibrillation, the delivery of an electrical shock to the heart muscle, can restore normal heart function if it occurs within minutes of sudden cardiac arrest onset.
When CPR and defibrillation are provided within eight minutes of an episode, a person's chance of survival increases to 20%.
When these steps are provided within four minutes and a paramedic arrives within eight minutes, the likelihood of survival increases to over 40%. This is why community first responders play such a vital role within the community, because we can get to the scene much faster than an ambulance which in rural areas may be some distance away.

What type of calls do community first responders attend to?

We respond to a number of emergency calls such as: Strokes, Heart Attacks, cardiac arrests, seizures, diabetic emergency's, minor trauma, falls and anything in which we have received appropriate training. We are never knowingly sent to a situation which may put us in danger or in which violence is involved.

If i become a community first responder will i get to use flashing lights and sirens?

No, we use our own vehicles to respond and because we are on call within the community in which we live or work we can get to the scene within a few minutes. We are not exempt from the road traffic law and we must "drive to arrive". Any Community first responder using lights and sirens without appropriate training and authorization are likely to be disciplined in line with south east coast ambulance service's (SECAMB) disciplinary procedure and will likely be dismissed from duty.

How much training is involved?

Please see our recruitment and training section of the website.

Is becoming a community first responder a route in to the ambulance service full time?

Becoming a responder is not an automatic route in to the ambulance service, however some of us have been successful in entering the ambulance service as frontline staff but were required to enter the recruitment process for the ambulance service. Becoming a responder is a good way to help you decide if a career with the ambulance service is something you would like to consider. Best of all you'll find responding a very rewarding role!


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