Avon St. John Ambulance and Avon Ambulance Service NHS Trust have joined together in partnership to organise and support Neighbourhood First Responder.
A Neighbourhood First Responder is a volunteer who lives in the local community, but is “on call” if there is an emergency call received by the ambulance service. Ambulance Control will contact them with details, and they will set off to the emergency at the same time as the ambulance.
Because the First Responder lives near the incident, and the ambulance may be coming from some miles away, the First Responder will often be on scene at the emergency before the ambulance. For some life-threatening conditions, particularly cardiac arrest, those few minutes can make the difference between life and death.
Our local First Responder group is co-ordinated by Duncan Massey
First Responders go to all calls which are classed as “Category A”, or “Potentially Life-Threatening”. There are many of these, but the majority will be Chest Pain, Breathing Difficulty, or Unconsciousness.
St John Ambulance First Responders do not attend Road Traffic Accidents, Incidents involving violence, or children under 12 years of age.
First Responders are trained in basic First Aid, and also in the use of oxygen, and a defibrillator. Using these before the ambulance arrives can significantly help the patient. Also importantly, the First Responder can help to reassure the patient that someone is there to help. Often reassurance is as important as any other treatment.
Pretty much anyone over the age of 18 can be a First Responder. As long as you have a reasonable standard of health (a medical declaration is required) and a clean driving license and a car you should be OK.
For the protection of the potentially vulnerable people we serve, all our volunteers agree to being checked with the national Criminal records Bureau.