My name is Anne Owen and I have been a Community First Responder in Highworth for the past 4 years. CFRs are all volunteers. We are all local people trained to attend emergency calls received by the ambulance service and provide care and support on scene until the ambulance arrives.

CFRs operate from their own home or place of work. We are offered calls at the same time as an ambulance via ambulance control to attend local emergency calls. These can include almost anything but probably most commonly involve:

 diabetic emergencies

 unconscious patients

 breathing difficulties

 seizures

 allergic reactions

 chest pain and cardiac arrests

 patients who have fallen

CFRs are dispatched to calls under normal road conditions using their own cars or community response cars. We do not have the authority to drive under emergency (blue light) conditions.

As well as essential first aid equipment, we carry automated external defibrillators (AEDs) and are trained and equipped to provide oxygen therapy. CFRs are often first on the scene to a patient in need, assessing their condition and prioritising initial care. CFRs are trained to not only assess the immediate situation but also to ascertain a previous medical history whilst treating a patient. In addition to delivering basic emergency care in life threatening situations, we may also need to provide very vital support to an ambulance crew when they arrive, or help to look after a distressed or confused relative whilst the Paramedics deliver critical care to the patient.

You don’t need any previous first aid experience as full training is given (normally over two weekends).  Once you have completed the CFR course you will need to undertake 3 operational ridealongs with South Western Ambulance Service with a Paramedic mentor either on a Rapid Response Vehicle or an ambulance and then once you have completed all your training and mentoring you are able to respond. I normally manage to do 12 hours responding a week and although that sounds a lot it can be done over a number of days, I work full time and normally respond in the evenings and at the weekends. Other CFRs, especially people who are retired or work shifts, are able to provide cover on weekdays during the day.

I enjoy being a responder knowing that I can make a difference to someone even after the crew arrive, sometimes just by being a calm person telling them what is happening.

To find out more about becoming a CFR, please visit (click on link)

The Trust is currently (April 2016) recruiting for new CFRs, and if you would like to apply, please go to the NHS Jobs website and search for job reference 202-005-16 – Community First Responder – Wiltshire, or you can go straight to (click on link)

and apply from there