About First Responding

A Community First Responder is a member of the public who volunteers to help their community by responding to medical emergencies while the ambulance is on its way.

If you wanted to become a Community First Responder you would be trained in a wide range of emergency skills, and use specialised equipment such as automatic external defibrillators and oxygen therapy.  You would then be able to provide an early intervention in situations such as a heart or asthma attack before the professional ambulance crew arrives. This improves patient survival and recovery.

Timing is Everything - Chain of Survival

In 1990, the American Heart Association developed the Chain of Survival. This protocol addresses the fact that most Sudden Cardiac Arrest episodes occur outside of a hospital, with death occurring within minutes of onset. For the Chain to be effective, quick execution of each and every link is critical.

To provide the best opportunity for survival, each of these four links must be put into motion within the first few minutes of Sudden Cardiac Arrest onset:

  • Early Access to Emergency Care must be provided by calling 999
  • Early CPR should be started and maintained until Emergency Services Personnel arrive
  • Early Defibrillation is the only one that can re-start the heart function of a person with ventricular fibrillation (VF). If an automated external defibrillator (AED) is available, a trained operator should administer defibrillation as quickly as possible until Emergency Services Personnel arrive
  • Early Advanced Care, the final link, can then be administered as needed by Emergency Services Personnel


Dispatching First Responders

The First Responders are contacted by the Emergency Control Room after the emergency ambulance has been dispatched.  This provides an opportunity to commence early CPR and early defibrillation before the emergency ambulance arrives.

Scottish Charity: SC044444