Who, What, Why?

May 2013 012
Providing emergency medical support around the rural village of Waterhouses in the Staffordshire Moorlands


During an emergency, time can mean life or death. In rural areas, there is a danger that an ambulance may be delayed in reaching a patient. Because the First Responders are local, they can get to an incident far faster than an ambulance and are fully trained to provide emergency care until the ambulance arrives.

It can often take an ambulance or paramedic a considerable amount of time to reach the more remote parts of the Moorlands, so the existence of village based First Responder Groups means that medical help can arrive within minutes.

For example, it is a well-researched fact that for a patient who has suffered a heart attack, the chance of a successful recovery is closely related to the time between the onset of the attack and the start of treatment. Waterhouses Community First Responders could be on the scene in minutes.  Their vehicle carries the same resuscitation equipment as an ambulance crew, and the volunteers are fully trained to use it.

First Responders do not of course replace the regular Ambulance Service. When you dial 999, the control room will dispatch a First Responder team (if available) in addition to the ambulance. It is simply that because of their proximity, they can arrive sooner, and start procedures that may save precious time, and with it, a life.