Many of our on-call fire stations provide co-responding support to South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT).
A co-responder scheme is made up of groups of volunteers within the community where they live or work, who have been trained to attend emergency calls received by the Ambulance Service, providing basic life support until the arrival of the emergency ambulance. Fire co-responders come with the additional benefit of a blue light enabled response and the ability to administer analgesia.
The scheme is similar to that of Community First Responder Schemes utilised nationally, to ensure that trained responders attend life threatening emergencies within seven minutes.
The chances of survival following cardiac arrest are considerably improved if appropriate steps are taken to deal with the emergency, including:
- early recognition of cardiac arrest;
- early activation of appropriate emergency services;
- early basic life support;
- early defibrillation; and
- early advanced life support.
Fire and Rescue Service co-responders are firefighters who, as a minimum, are trained and competent in basic life support and defibrillation, and have passed an appropriate first response course and a SWASFT responder familiarisation session.
Although stations are nominated to be part of the scheme, firefighters are not obliged to be co-responders; they volunteer and are paid separately for carrying out the function in addition to their main role.
Stations currently part of the scheme are Beaminster, Bradford on Avon, Cranborne, Cricklade, Gillingham, Ludgershall, Lyme Regis, Malmesbury, Mere, Ramsbury, Royal Wootton Bassett, Swanage and Tisbury.