First Responders History

First Responders have been operating within Essex since 1997 and the original groups have now increased to 65 with continued growth forecast. The scheme was first introduce in an effort to provide early pre-hospital care to those communities that we have difficulty in reaching within those life critical early minutes following a heart attack, cardiac arrest or a patient who has become unconscious.

Whilst East of England Ambulance Service is one of the top performing Ambulance Services in England, we have to recognise that there are some communities which are extremely rural and if we had an ambulance behind every hay stack, we would not be able to deliver the speed of the response necessary to get to some patients with the life-threatening conditions. This is where the role of First Responder is vital.

The groups of volunteers receive training in Basic Life Support and are given an automatic defibrillator (machine to shock the heart) by the Ambulance Service. The 999 emergency control room is then able to send the First Responder to the life threatening calls within their local community to provide the care and comfort necessary whilst the ambulance is on its way. First Responders are not a substitute for the crew, but a very timely added bonus for the patient who may be suffering from a life-threatening condition. In working with the Ambulance Service, First Responders can `buy time` for the patient until the ambulance crew arrives. Over 700 patients throughout Essex have already benefited from the intervention of the First Responders.

Our Aim within Essex is to provide the appropriate care to life-threatening emergency calls within eight minutes on 75% of all occasions. This exacting but extremely important time frame for when a heart stops beating, the patient has only a short window of opportunity for someone to restart their heart. That someone can be you!


Benfleet First Responders