CFR - Community First Responders
So what is a community first responder?
A community first responder is a volunteer in the community who gets trained up by the Scottish Ambulance Service to deliver first aid on scene until the ambulance team arrives.
A CFR has a Scottish Ambulance Radio and once logged on responds to 999 calls in the community.
There are around 137 active CFR groups within Scotland
In my local area we have Invergordon First Responders set up and run by myself and my team and Alness First Responders set up and run by Michael O'Neil and his team.
This a vital service and one that is needed within the Highlands of Scotland.
Currently in Scotland CFR's only go out to 999 calls in their own vehicles when they are on duty. They are not allowed to use Blue Lights when responding to a 999 call.
However there is a call from many CFR's to train them up in the use of Blue lights to enable them to not only responder faster but also to drive any ambulance where there is only one ambulance technician or paramedic. This will enable the technician/paramedic to get a patient who is critical to hospital rather than wait til another ambulance crew arrives.
There was a case recently where a lady died before getting to the hospital as there was only one paramedic with the ambulance and so had to wait for another crew to arrive before she could be transported.
This would not have happened if a CFR had been trained up to drive the ambulance when its only got one technician/paramedic.
Currently there are various reasons being given as to why its not possible for CFR's to be trained up with blue lights, but the simple fact is elsewhere in the UK CFR's are trained up in the use of blue lights and very successfully.
There are various ways in which the Scottish Ambulance Service can implement this, but the simplest way is:
Have a two tier CFR:
This will be where you have the first tier CFR's who volunteer when they can and the second tier will be where you have CFR's who will commit to so many hours per month with the SAS to driving the ambulance and are then blue light trained.
As an MSP candidate if elected in this will be high on my list to tackle to get it introduced as I believe CFR's and their role in the community and with the Scottish Ambulance Service is vital and a lot more can be done to grow the CFR service and the good it does now.
Further details about blue light use can be found here
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