Community First Responders

The ambulance service is looking for more life saving volunteers who can help in areas across Suffolk.

Community first responders (CFRs) were set up more than 10-years-ago in Suffolk by the ambulance service to attend 999 emergencies in their local community. Since then the schemes have grown in numbers and can even be found in the larger towns in the region.

A CFR is a volunteer who is trained by the ambulance service to attend emergency calls in the area where they live or work.

Suffolk Community Partnership Manager Jon Needle said: “We have around 60 groups in Suffolk getting vital aid to patients faster in rural and hard-to-reach communities. It is such a rewarding role and people can give as much or as little time as they like.”

Community First ResponderTheir aim is to reach a potential life threatening emergency in the first vital minutes before the ambulance crew arrives on scene.

Community first responders are sent by ambulance control to life-threatening emergencies such as cardiac arrests. They live or work in area where a group is set up and can get to an incident in just a few minutes while an ambulance resource is on its way.

Their role is to help stabilise the patient and, in doing so, keep the patient alive until the arrival of the more highly skilled ambulance crew, who are trained to undertake further life saving techniques.

Why is an early response so important?

The concept of community first responders originated in America through work undertaken by Dr Richard Cummins. He discovered that if a series of events took place in a set sequence, a patient suffering a cardiac arrest had a greater chance of survival.

These events are known as the ‘Chain of Survival’.

Chain of Survival

If the ambulance service can send a community first responder who is trained in basic life support, in using a defibrillator and in administering oxygen, to a collapsed patient within three to four minutes, that patient’s chances of survival will increase by 10% for every minute that the community first responder is there prior to the arrival of the ambulance crew

Who can become a CFR?

Anyone can become a community first responder but you must:

  • Be physically fit
  • Aged between 18 – 70
  • Agree to a criminal record bureau check
  • Have a sympathetic, caring nature
  • Agree to undertake training

More information available on the East of England Ambulance Service website

If you are interested in joining or know someone who might be please contact:
Jon Needle, Community Partnership Manager
Phone: 07710 340640



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