What is a CFR?

A Community First Responder (CFR), is a person available to be dispatched by an ambulance control centre to attend medical emergencies in their local area. They can be members of the public, who have received basic training in life saving interventions such as defibrillation, or professionals from a non-medical discipline who may be nearby or attending emergencies, such as police, firefighters or security officers.

Community first responders are there to provide assistance to those with a medical emergency, and most importantly to start and maintain the chain of survival in cardiac arrest patients until a fully equipped ambulance arrives. They are not used to replace a traditional ambulance.

Why do we need Community First Responders?

In 1990 Dr Richard Cummins from Seattle, USA discovered if a series of events took place, in a set sequence, a patient suffering from a cardiac arrest stood a greater chance of survival. These events are now known as the ‘Chain of Survival’

Chain of survival
  • Early Recognition & Call for help
  • Early CPR
  • What is a CFR?
  • Early Advanced Care

Community First Responders are an integral and valued link in the ‘Chain of Survival’ in areas that experience an extended journey time, as they can provide essential simple treatments in those crucial first few minutes prior to the arrival of the Ambulance.

CFRs were first created in Staffordshire, by Staffordshire Ambulance Service. They were and still are some of the most highly trained CFRs in the country. They respond to the widest range of emergencies from breathing problems, to chest pain, RTCs (Road Traffic Collisions) to strokes, paediatrics to trauma.