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Yorkshire Ambulance Service Community First Responder Scheme - Knaresborough

04 February 2009

Community First Responders are volunteers who provide immediate life-saving care to members of their local communities in an emergency medical situation, such as heart attack, breathing difficulties or a collapse, in the vital minutes before the ambulance arrives.

They are trained in Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and the use of an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) which delivers a controlled electric shock to restart the heart.  First Responders also carry portable oxygen. 

A Community First Responder in training

Neil Marsay, Community Defibrillation Trainer for YAS in North Yorkshire, said: “Community First Responders make a valuable contribution to their communities.  We know that in many medical emergencies the first few minutes are critical.  If effective treatment can be performed within those first minutes, lives can be saved and disability reduced. Being a First Responder can be extremely rewarding and I would encourage anyone who may be interested in taking on the role to get in touch.


Caption: A volunteer Community First Responder in training

“Many people volunteer as a Community First Responder to gain experience, to help their local communities and some people have had personal experience of a loved one needing prompt medical attention and can see the value in this initiative. Volunteers come from all walks of life.”

Jason Westwood, from Knaresborough volunteered for the scheme and has recently completed the training to be operational in the area from March.  Jason said: “Getting help to local people as fast as possible is the key to the scheme. The training has given me all I need to provide that vital early care. Some may be worried about committing to a scheme of this nature, but attendance to an incident is voluntary and a full ambulance crew is dispatched at the same time as a responder.

“To make the scheme effective, we would welcome more volunteers. The process is easy and it’s been an enjoyable journey gaining the skills to help others. I’d really like to team up with other locals who would share my interest in making this scheme a success and help save lives.”

Full training is given to successful applicants who need to be over 18, physically fit and hold a full driving licence having never been banned from driving with no more than three penalty points.  Yorkshire Ambulance Service will also run Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) checks on candidates.

For further information about the Community First Responder scheme or to apply to become a volunteer, please contact the YAS Network Response Team on 0845 120 3155.

Produced By: Corporate Communications Department