First Responders have all the training and equipment necessary to manage the patient
in those first few critical minutes
Paramedics responding to a call

How does it work?

When a caller asks for the ambulance service on a 999 call, the operator transfers the call to the ambulance control centre. For Woking this is the EDC in Banstead.

Help starts as soon as the 999 call is answered by the ambulance control room. The first thing asked is the address where the ambulance is required. As soon as this information is given, a "Control Dispatcher" will immediately start an ambulance en-route. At this point the Dispatcher also checks to see if there is a Community First Responder on duty within the area and can quickly see how near to the incident the First Responder is and how long it should take them to get there, along with the ambulance. They will alert the First Responder by sending an SMS message via the computer system directly within seconds of the call being made, followed up by a phone call.

The call from Control tells the First Responder where the incident is (the address) and also gives brief details as to the condition of the patient. They carry a mobile phone provide by SECAmb to allow them to call directly to the control room to report back once they have arrived on scene and to relay the condition of the patient, which Control can then pass onto the Ambulance or Fast Response Vehicle who will also be mobile and travelling to the scene using blue lights and sirens. Responders can speak to Control at any time to ask for directions to the incident or to obtain medical help or advice if required.

Each Community First Responder covers an area within 5 minutes of their house, ensuring they are able to provide that vital immediate response. Responders are dispatched to the majority of calls the ambulance service receives but are not sent to incidents which could put them in danger such as road traffic incidents.

Woking CFRs carry an Ambulance Service mobile with them, along with the emergency medical equipment in their car boot. As soon as the duty First Responders receive a call out they will drop what they are doing and proceed to the scene, usually in their own cars. If driving is involved, it will be under the Highway Code and Community First Responders are expected to comply with the law while driving to incidents.

On arrival, the First Responder will have all the training and equipment necessary to manage the patient in those first few critical minutes before the ambulance arrives. In many cases, the First Responder may not actually be required to do anything other than reassure the patient and make sure that the ambulance is able to find the location. However, we know that the First Responder could save a life, for example, as a result of a simple airway open manoeuvre, defibrillation or treating choking. The First Responders will always be backed up by an Emergency Ambulance as soon as possible.