Frequently Asked Questions

  • Do Community First Responders replace Ambulances?

    NO, as with the 'Chain of Survival', Community First Responders can provide the early CPR and defibrillation but in order to complete the sequence and increase the patient's chance of survival, Early Advanced Care, i.e. a NEAS Ambulance response, is always called first before dispatching the nearest first responder. CFRs do not replace the ambulance service, but simply attempt to preserve life and promote recovery until the ambulance service arrive.

  • Will an ambulance always be dispatched at the same time as a Community First Responder?

    Yes. The nearest available ambulance resource will always back up a CFR.  

  • Do Community First Responder have to be on ‘Stand by’?

    We do not expect the number of calls to warrant responders being on standby. You should be able to carry on with your normal daily activities, knowing that if the NMA device alert goes then you will need to get to respond as soon as possible.

  • Are Community First Responders exempt from any driving laws?

    No, CFRs will drive under normal conditions and adhere to the Highway Code, they will not be exempt from any driving laws.

  • Do Community First Responders use blue lights and sirens when responding?

    No. Community First Responders have a sun visor sign showing in their front windscreen; however, these are only there as an indicator when parking up at incidents. On no occasion will Community First Responders be driving with blue lights or sirens when acting on behalf on the North East Ambulance Service NHS Trust.

  • Do First Responders have a uniform?

    They will be dressed in normal clothing; however, they will have a uniform issued on completion of training and a hi-vis jacket or waistcoat to identify themselves. In addition, they will carry a NEAS Photo identification badge which they will show on arrival at scene.

  • Who manages Community First Responders?

    First responders in the North East Ambulance Service region are trained, controlled and deployed by the North East Ambulance Service (NEAS). The NEAS First Responder Management Team has overall responsibility for the First Responders and are available to offer support and advice.

  • What training does a Community First Responder receive?

    All Community First Responders will undergo a Future Quals Level 3 Award for First Responders on Scene: Ambulance Service Community Responder training course, plus NEAS induction and the Trust's annual Statutory and Mandatory training.

  • What are the training commitments?

    All Community First Responders will undergo an initial five-day continuous training course. They are also required to undertake an annual one-day Statutory and Mandatory training and a skills refresher, including assessment.

  • What equipment do Community First Responders use?

    The North East Ambulance Service will identify items of equipment the CFR scheme will require, this is generally: Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) - to provide lifesaving treatment in certain Cardiac Conditions: A full observation Kit to assist with getting patients vital signs and following up their after care. Oxygen delivery system to administer to patients who require O2. Some schemes may also have a Falls kit to assist with non-injury Falls in the local community. All equipment will be provided By North East Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust which is subject to availability and costing through trust or charitable contributions.

  • What type of incidents do Community First Responders get sent to? What is the criteria for deployment of a Community First Responder?

    CFRs are generally only dispatched to life threatening emergencies such as Cardiac Arrest/Heart Attacks, Breathing Difficulties, Chest pains, medical collapse and unconsciousness not due to trauma - i.e., where every second counts in restoring the patient to health.

  • What type of incidents do Community First Responders NOT get sent to?

    CFR are volunteers, they will generally not knowingly be sent to: - Assaults or incidents of a violent nature Incidents in a public house - Drug or alcohol related incidents - Road traffic collisions - Children under the age of 16 years old - Traumatic Injuries. These types of incidents are generally considered not appropriate to send volunteers to. This list is checked and changed with appropriate training by NEAS.

  • How are Community First Responders alerted to an emergency?

    CFRs are dispatched by the NEAS Ambulance control who will identify incidents that are appropriate for the responder to attend. They will then activate your call sign on your NMA Device, once accepted they will pass the details of the incident and mapping to the incident will automatically begin.

  • Do we need Community First Responders (CFR) everywhere?

    Our resources are limited and we are actively targeting particular geographical areas that would benefit from having a CFR Scheme.

  • Who will have the time to be a First Responder?

    Generous volunteers who can commit time to be available when they are at home or at their workplace. Some people manage every evening, whereas some manage only weekends.

  • What are the requirements to be a Community First Responder?

    A first responder needs to be fully committed to the aims, objectives and constitution of the scheme, which simply put are to provide the highest standard of First Responder service to their community. You will also need to commit to minimum of 16 hrs a month duty time and fulfil training requirements for the role.

  • Do Community First Responders receive any payment?

    No. All community first responders are volunteers. NEAS supports them by providing training and equipment. Expenses may be claimed for travel to and from incidents and some training.

  • Do you have to use your own car?

    Yes. This car must be immediately available and be insured, taxed, MOT'd and insured to respond as a NEAS volunteer. NEAS will check responder’s vehicle documents and driving licence to confirm this during the recruitment process and annually.

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