Fastaid, a local charity which equips and organises training for Community First Responders is celebrating its first ten years of operation.
Community First Responders (CFRs) are volunteers from many different backgrounds who are trained by West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) to the nationally recognised First Person on Scene (FPOS) qualification.
CFRs respond from home and are alerted by WMAS control to life threatening 999 calls within 8 minutes driving time of their location.
More often than not, the CFR will arrive at the emergency before an ambulance and will be able to render lifesaving assistance in the vital minutes before further help arrives. CFRs are always backed up by a paramedic in a rapid response car or an ambulance and in most cases by both of these.
The essence of the scheme is that the CFR is local, in his or her community, and as such can very quickly get to 999 emergencies nearby.
Typical emergencies attended are heart attack, cardiac arrest, unconscious patients and breathing problems. All these require fast intervention and the CFR can provide this quickly in the first vital minutes whilst waiting for paramedic backup.
During the year 2015 the four CFRs in the Northfield, Longbridge & Kings Norton area have volunteered 1022 hours on call and attended 271 emergencies on behalf of the Ambulance Service.
CFRs have regular update training at monthly meetings plus they are very active in promoting the introduction of Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs) into their local communities.
If you or a group that you know of are considering purchasing an AED or would like to find out about Heartstart courses, Fastaid can provide advice and training if required, contact Fastaid via their website