Being a Community First Responder

Community First Responders (CFRs) are members of the community who are specially trained to respond to emergency 999 calls made to their local ambulance service.

What commitment does a CFR need to give?
The role is entirely voluntary, although you are reimbursed for any mileage. There is a requirement for a minimum of 20hrs on-call each month, although we find that many of our CFRs frequently are on-call for more than 100hrs per month. One of our CFRs achieved just under 1,900hrs on-call in a single year.

How are CFRs dispatched and do they have to attend every call?
CFRs are dispatched by the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC), which for the Crowborough area is the Coxheath EOC. On completion of training, each CFR is issued with a mobile phone (and/or Airwave) by SECAmb. The phone is linked to SECAmb’s CAD (Computer Aided Dispatch) system and in the EOC is a desk dedicated to the dispatch of CFRs. When a 999 call is received, if appropriate and within reasonable range of a CFR who is on duty, then at the same time an ambulance is dispatched, a CFR will also be dispatched as long as it is safe to do so. It is then up to the CFR if they wish to attend, and if so, they will send a coded text message back to the system. If the CFR for whatever reason decides based on the information received they do not wish to attend, there is absolutely no obligation.

What type of incidents do CFRs primarily attend?
The types of incidents our CFRs attend may range from cardiac arrest, respiratory arrest, collapse due to medical complications, allergic reactions and other non-trauma cases in the home or workplace.

An ambulance is ALWAYS dispatched to any incident being attended
to by a CFR – We are not a substitute to the ambulance service