The concept of First Response originates from Dr Richard Cummins of Seattle, USA. He discovered that if a series of responsive measures took place in a set sequence a heart attack victim had a greater chance of survival. These events are known as the ‘Chain of survival’. The chain consists of: early access/assessment; early resuscitation; early defibrillation and finally, early Advanced Life Support.
The key, of course, is the time that has elapsed from the beginning of the Cardiac Arrest to the first stage of treatment (Resuscitation).
For an emergency category A call a Paramedic should arrive at the scene within eight minutes. However, the reality is that in a county as large as Norfolk the nearest ambulance sometimes may be unable to reach a patient within this time scale.
This is where the First Responders come in. When you consider the “Chain of Survival”, for every minute that passes without life support a casualty’s chance of survival is reduced by up to 10%.
Nonetheless, due to increasing public awareness and thorough East of England Ambulance NHS Trust training, First Responders can improve the pre-hospital survival rate by up to 30%.
The East of England Ambulance NHS Trust believes that by introducing a scheme where Community Responders are trained to provide the first three links in the “Chain of Survival”, there should be a significant increase in the survival of patients.