Community First Responder Schemes

North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust has one of the largest and longest established Community First Responder schemes in the Country.  The Trust currently has 1200 Active Community First Responders shared between 134 teams throughout the region.  The Trust is also responsible for 200 Public Access Defibrillator (PAD) sites including Airports, Railway Stations, Police Stations, Shopping Malls and Sports Centres; training 1900 of the staff at these sites as Establishment Responders.

Find out more by watching the short film below. 

The Role of a Community First Responder

Community First Responders are teams of volunteers who live and work in local communities. They are trained and activated by North West Ambulance NHS Service NHS Trust to attend certain calls where time can make the difference between life and death. Such calls would include Chest Pain, Breathing Difficulties, Cardiac Arrest, Unconsciousness, Fitting, Arrest of Haemorrhage and Diabetic Emergencies. The responder provides care and support to the patient and relatives until the arrival of the emergency ambulance.

Very often, the role of a responder is one of reassurance. In instances where someone has chest pains, simply giving oxygen can make a big difference.  In extreme cases, they can perform CPR (cardio-pulmonary resuscitation) or use a defibrillator to restart the heart. Chances of survival decreases by 10% with each minute a person's heart has stopped beating. So the CFR's availability in the local area means they can respond quickly and start treatment as early as possible.

Each volunteer makes themselves available on call to suit their personal circumstances. They carry basic life saving equipment, and a simple to use Automated External Defibrillator (AED).

The Ambulance Service control centre sends Responders to immediately life threatening medical calls within their local area. They are dispatched at the same time as the ambulance crews but because they are often in more rural locations, may arrive more quickly than the ambulance.

The scheme can be incredibly rewarding not least because responders could save someone's life. Many villages where schemes exist show great community spirit knowing there is someone around the corner who could be a lifesaver.

Anyone who lives or works within the North West can get involved, whether it as a Community First Responder, or helping in other tasks needed to run a team such as support or administration. Volunteers do not need previous First Aid experience to join their local team as full training is given. For more information please visit our website or contact