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Community First Responders

Community First Responders are local unpaid volunteers who are trained and dispatched by the NHS ambulance service to attend life threatening medical emergencies and provide life support until the arrival of the local statutory NHS Ambulance Service.

Research has shown that in cases of cardiac arrest, fast access to emergency life support skills and equipment can increase pre-hospital survival rates from 5% to as much as 74%. There is also sufficient evidence that in the event of a cardiac arrest where the casualty’s heart is in a shockable rhythm, for every minute that passes without defibrillation their chance of survival decreases by 10%.

Volunteer Community First Responders usually use their own cars, no blue lights or sirens but being local means they can be on scene with a casualty in just a few minutes. They provide vital support until the arrival of the NHS Ambulance Service sometimes making the difference between life and death.

We currently have twenty five Community First Responder volunteers involved in the scheme on the Island and we also have two Co-Responders for the Island; these are Firefighters with medical emergency skills that are tasked and respond for the Ambulance Service.

Our vision is to continue to provide a professional Community First Responder coverage across the Isle of Wight to support the IW NHS Trust Ambulance Service and ultimately increase the number of volunteers we have to provide as much coverage as possible in the geographical areas that need it.

‘I am privilege to manage such a wonderful group of enthusiastic, highly valued, First Responders. Each and every one is an absolute asset to our community and I can’t thank them enough for being part of the scheme. I look forward to the number of Community Responders growing as we continue to recruit and train more volunteers. Over time I hope that we can support more Volunteer Community First Responders with local lifesaving skills in the areas that most need them.’ Louise Walker, Head of the Ambulance Training & Community response services (ATCoRS)

If you are interested in volunteering for this scheme, please contact the IW NHS Trust volunteer service by emailing: iownt.volunteer@nhs.net.

Read about Community First Responder reunited with patient whose life he saved.