What are First Responders?

Community First Responders are volunteers, everyday members of the general public who are trained to deal with a wide range of potentially life threatening conditions until the arrival of an ambulance.

Very often the role they play is one of reassurance, for example in instances where someone has chest pains but in more extreme cases they can perform CPR (cardio-pulmonary resuscitation) or use a defibrillator to restart someone’s heart. First Responders provide support to the Scottish Ambulance Service by attending serious and life threatening 999 calls in and around the community to provide the earliest possible intervention for patients in the first few minutes until the arrival of an Ambulance.

The ambulance service dispatcher is able to send Community First Responders to a range of incidents; they are dispatched at the same time as the ambulance crews but often arrive before the ambulance. In cases of cardiac arrest it has been identified that the chance of a positive outcome reduces by approximately 10% for every minute that effective CPR and defibrillation are delayed.

Watch Gregor’s story to see how important Community First Responders really are.






The Resuscitation Council (UK) states that a First Responder is “a person, trained as a minimum in basic life support and the use of a defibrillator, who attends a potentially life-threatening emergency.”

A Community First Responder is a local volunteer who agrees to undertake training in Basic Life Support, This then enables them to provide life saving treatment to those people within the community who are critically ill, in the first few minutes prior to the arrival of an ambulance.

In 1990 Dr Richard Cummins from Seattle, USA discovered if a series of events took place, in a set sequence, a patient suffering from a heart attack stood a greater chance of survival. These events are now known as the ‘Chain of Survival’


  • Early Recognition & Call for help
  • Early CPR
  • Early Defibrillation
  • Early Advanced Care


The First Responders are qualified to use numerous items

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Incidents Attended

Find out what types of Incidents a First Responder attends

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Find out more information on our vehicles used in the Forth Valley are.

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