Welcome to the North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust Community First Responder website.

Community First Responders are volunteers who give their time freely to help care for people and save lives in their community.

Responders are everyday members of the general public who are trained to deal with a wide range of potentially life threatening conditions until the arrival of an ambulance.

Very often the role they play is one of reassurance, for example in instances where someone has chest pains but in more extreme cases they can perform CPR (cardio-pulmonary resuscitation) or use a defibrillator to restart someone's heart.

First Responders provide support to the regular Ambulance Service by attending serious and life threatening 999 calls in and around the community to provide the earliest possible intervention for patients in the first few minutes until the arrival of an Ambulance.

The ambulance service dispatcher is able to send Community First Responders to a range of incidents; they are dispatched at the same time as the ambulance crews but because they are often in more rural areas can often arrive before the ambulance. In cases of cardiac arrest it has been identified that the chance of a positive outcome reduces by approximately 10% for every minute that effective CPR and defibrillation are delayed.

The scheme can be incredibly rewarding as responders could well end up saving someone's life.  Many villages where schemes exist show great community spirit knowing that there are people there who could be lifesavers.

Anyone who lives or works in the North West can get involved with the scheme, whether it's to be a First Responder, or to help with other vital tasks such as fund-raising, support or administration.  Volunteers do not need previous first aid experience to join their local group, as full training will be provided.

House of Commons Event - CardiacSmart
Support NWAS in improving the survival rates of cardiac arrest

On 27 January 2015, the North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) NHS Trust is today holding an event at the House of Commons, hosted by Andy Burnham MP, to gain parliamentary support for improving survival rates for out of hospital cardiac arrest in the UK
– which are currently around 8 percent.

The day will focussed around gaining support for the following five key aims:

  1. Screening to be available for all children at risk of undiagnosed heart conditions.
  2. Children to leave school at 16 with the knowledge of simple life-saving skills including how to do CPR and use a defibrillator.
  3. A requirement for the installation of public access AEDs in areas of high footfall and other places, including schools across the UK, where there is a real risk of a sudden cardiac arrest occurring, and positioned alongside fire extinguishers and first aid kits.
  4. To raise awareness within communities of how to carry out CPR and how to use, locate and access an AED.
  5. To ensure NHS ambulance services lead the campaign to develop and introduce a national strategy for community resuscitation and resilience.

Guest speakers from NWAS, and those whose life has been saved or those who  successfully resuscitated a victim, spoke at the event about the importance of bystanders taking action by calling 999, starting CPR and using a defibrillator to significantly improve chances of survival.

Guests were also able to sign pledge boards in support of NWAS’ aims, including MPs, Lords and partners who support the need to strengthen the links of the chain of survival to improve out of hospital cardiac arrest survival rates across the UK.

For more information and to keep up with the campaign, make sure you are following: @NWAmbulance or use the #CardiacSmart to see what people are saying!