Community First Responders

Canada Heights

Community First Responder (CFR) volunteers are trained to attend emergency calls received by the ambulance service and provide care until the ambulance arrives.

Volunteers can arrive at an emergency scene in a matter of minutes, as they are sent to calls in their local area.

The schemes operate as a community partnership between St John Ambulance and local ambulance service trusts. Having someone in the community who has been trained in first aid and can reach the patient quickly makes all the difference.

St John Ambulance has been working hard across its regions to establish a close working partnership with NHS Ambulance Service Trusts in maintaining existing CFR units and establishing new units. Several regions now have units operating in their area with more regions seeking to establish this important role.

Volunteers operate as part of a rota system from their own home or place of work. They are dispatched at the same time as an ambulance via ambulance control to attend Category A 'immediately life – threatening' calls. These calls can include:

  • cardiac arrest
  • diabetic emergency
  • unresponsive patient
  • breathing difficulties
  • seizures.

Volunteer with St John Ambulance  

If you're 18 years old or over and interested in volunteering your time to be the difference find out how to become a Community First Responder.

Community First Responders are dispatched to calls under normal road conditions using their own cars. They do not have the authority to drive under emergency conditions.

This worthwhile role means that you can often be first on the scene to a patient in need, assessing their condition and prioritising your response. CFRs are trained to not only assess the immediate situation but also to ascertain a previous medical history whilst treating a patient. Sometimes they can simply be a very vital second pair of hands to an ambulance crew when they arrive.

As well as basic first aid equipment, they carry automated external defribrillators (AEDs) and are trained and equipped to provide oxygen therapy.

New volunteers and those wishing to qualify for this role will need to attend an approved training course which includes assessment, and will be required to re-qualify annually.

Every year, our CFRs attend more than 6,000 calls on behalf of ambulance service trusts.

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