Wicklow Cardiac First Responders was formed in 2004 and is the umbrella group for Community First Responder Groups in Co. Wicklow. Its initial aim was to make Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) available in the wider community. The first public meeting was held in Shillelagh in March 2004. Working with the Irish Health Services Executive (HSE) Ambulance Service, we are a group of volunteers who live and work in communities and help by providing an early response in the provision of primary life saving support to people who have called 999/112 and requested an Emergency Ambulance.
How Do Community First Responders Work?
On receiving a 999/112 call the Ambulance Control will dispatch an emergency ambulance to the incident, if team members are on duty they will be contacted by Ambulance Control and requested to attend the incident.
In most cases the Community First Responders will be on the scene within 3-9 minutes. This early attendance could literally mean the difference between life and death for the casualty, especially when the casualty has suffered a Cardiac Arrest and requires immediate Defibrillation.
Community First Responders operate under the Pre Hospital Emergency Care Council (PHECC) Cardiac First Responder Clinical Practice Guidelines (CPGs) and the National Ambulance Service direction.
Community First Responders attend calls in their own vehicles.
Community First Responders are trained in Adult, Paediatrics and Infant CPR & Foreign Body Airway Obstruction, Chest Pain Management and Aspirin Therphy, the use of Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs), Stroke recognition (using F.A.S.T.), and are dispatched to assist patients with the above symptoms. Community First Responders should never put themselves at risk and are not sent into situations where there is a of risk of trauma.
The first groups went “live” in Co. Wicklow in January 2005. There were 27 groups up and running with approx. 500 trained CFR’s and have attended 300 calls by August 2007.
Community First Responders do not replace the statutory bodies. They are a voluntary addition and may not always be on call, this will depend on numbers trained and available in your community.