Sonning Common
Community First Responders




Trained To Help


NHS 111 Service

111 is the NHS non-emergency number. It’s fast, easy and free. Call 111 and speak to a highly trained adviser, supported by healthcare professionals. They will ask you a series of questions to assess your symptoms and immediately direct you to the best medical care for you.

NHS 111 is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Calls are free from landlines and mobile phones.


NHS 999 Service

Call 999 in a medical emergency (someone is seriously ill or injured and their life is at risk). Examples include: loss of consciousness; acute confused state and fits that are not stopping; persistent, severe chest pain, breathing difficulties, severe bleeding that cannot be stopped; severe allergic reactions; severe burns or scalds.
Call 999Call 999 immediately, if you or someone else is having a heart attack or stroke. Every second counts with these conditions.

Also call 999, if you think someone has had a major trauma. Major trauma is often the result of a serious road traffic accident, a stabbing, a shooting, a fall from height or a serious head injury.




It is a mandatory requirement of South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust to ensure that all of its Community First Responders (CFRs) are of a sound character and fulfill both the legal and moral obligations that the Trust holds toward patient safety and care. Therefore, to ensure safe recruitment decisions into a position of trust where the Responders may be working with vulnerable adults and children, full enhanced disclosure and barring checks are conducted through the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) - formerly known as CRB checks.

Initial Training is 2 days over 1 weekend, with written exam and practical assessments all of which must be passed to qualify. Subjects covered include: scene management; unconscious casualty management; airway management; cardiac arrest; CPR (Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation); AED (Automatic External Defibrillator); management of epilepsy; diabetic emergencies; cardiac conditions; oxygen therapy; infection control; respiratory illnesses; communication and Confidentiality.

Ideally Responders should then do at least 1 shift with an ambulance crew as an observer (this is not currently mandatory). Training is likely to change to include a manual handling course and a number of obligatory observation shifts.

All Community First Responders will be expected to undertake a formal requalification process, consisting of both written and practical elements on a six monthly basis from their induction/last requalification date.


First Responder Kit

This is typically what a Community First Responder looks like when he or she attends an incident. They will be wearing a hi-visibility tabbard or green jacket and carrying an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) and a backpack that contains all the first aid equipment they need to do their job.

Community First Responders travel to an incident in their own, unmarked vehicle, so don't expect blue flashing lights or a siren until the ambulance arrives. If possible get someone to stand outside and keep an eye open for the Community First Responder and ambulance and direct them to the exact location, this is especially important at night; if you can, turn on an outside light and get someone to stand by the front door, this will speed up the process of getting assistance to the patient.



The AED is a semi-automatic device that "shocks" a heart that has stopped beating correctly. Typically when someones heart stops working properly it reduces or even stops the flow of blood around the body, this causes the patient to lose consciousness very quickly. The heart goes into a state where it is either beating too fast or out of synch and is therefore not pumping blood around the body efficiently. The AED detects this behaviour and allows the Community First Responder to deliver a shock that "resets" the heart which hopefully allows it to start beating in rhythm again. The units are foolproof and will not allow a shock to be delivered unless the unit detects that the heart is not beating properly.


The equipment bag contains a cylinder of oxygen with several different types of masks to deliver it, including a Bag-Valve-Mask (BVM) to deliver 100% oxygen to a patient who has stopped breathing and inflate their lungs. The bag also contains Oropharyngeal airways (OPA's) to help keep an unconscious patients airway open. As well as several dressings, bandages, tape, gloves and so on. Everything a Community First Responder will need to provide basic life support until the ambulance crew arrives.


The South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust, who run the Community First Responder schemes, trains all Community First Responders to the highest standard, so that they are familiar with all the equipment and comfortable in its use. They also undergo regular updates and additional training from time to time, as well as 3rd manning with the ambulance crews: This involves the Community First Responder working a shift with their local ambulance service as an observer, in order to get more experience and knowledge of the types of incidents involved and to observe how the professionals approach the different situations.

Although the equipment is initially funded by the South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust, the schemes are run as a charity and groups are encouraged to fund raise within their community in order to contribute to the charity funds and to buy additional equipment, supporting the scheme as a whole.