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Welcome to SWASFT

Community First Responders information

Community forst responder team CotswoldThe Trust covers one of the most rural areas of the UK and we are committed to providing the population of the South West with the highest standard of out-of-hospital care. We are extremely grateful to the many Responders who volunteer to help members of their local community in their time of need.

Every day, Responders from across the South West attend emergencies within their local communities. Sometimes the difference is providing reassurance prior to the arrival of an ambulance; sometimes it is saving someone's life. A range of Responders volunteer to make that difference, including:

  • Community First Responders - volunteers who support their local community by attending emergency calls ahead of an ambulance;
  • St John Ambulance Community First Responders - volunteers who under their work with St John Ambulance, respond within their local community ahead of an ambulance;
  • Fire Co-Responders - retained fire fighters who attend emergency calls on behalf of the Trust, as part of their day to day role with the fire and rescue service;
  • RNLI Co-Responders - life guards who patrol beaches and respond to local incidents;
  • Establishment Based Responders - staff who respond to an incident that may occur during their normal working date, for example in a railway station or shopping centre;
  • Staff Responders - ambulance clinicians who volunteer to attend emergencies in their local communities on their day off.

Current recruitment locations

If you would like to support your local community and make it a safer place to live, please get in touch. Vacancies are advertised on

What kind of emergencies do Community First Responders attend?

CFRs attend particular types of medical emergencies where it is essential for the patient to receive immediate life-saving care. This includes conditions such as:

  • cardiac arrest;
  • chest pain;
  • breathing difficulties;
  • unconscious patients;
  • fitting;
  • stroke.

CFRs are not sent to particular types of incidents, due to concerns for their personal or scene safety - these include:

  • road traffic collisions;
  • excess drugs or alcohol incidents.

You do not need any previous medical training to become a CFR. SWASFT currently has a whole host of people available to save lives in their local community, including nurses, engineers, postal workers and teachers. You do need:

  • a full driving licence;
  • good interpersonal and communication skills;
  • the ability to observe and accurately record details;
  • the ability to take the lead and remain calm in pressured situations;

What does the application process involve?

When you apply to become a CFR, you complete:

  • an application form;
  • Occupational Health Screening check by an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service.

You will then be invited for interview where we can find out more about your suitability for this role and your understanding of the requirements. If successful you will be invited to a three day initial training course where you will learn more about:

  • patient assessment;
  • respiration and airway management;
  • basic life support;
  • defibrillation;
  • circulation and shock;
  • medical related emergencies;
  • trauma related emergencies;
  • the pre-hospital environment.

You will be required to achieve some organisational induction training including:

  • Conflict resolution;
  • Information Governance;
  • Safeguarding of vulnerable children and adults.

It is important to remember that attending people in critical, life-threatening situations can be upsetting. However, the SWASFT Responder Department makes sure there is someone to help 24 hours a day.

How can I find out more?

If you live in the South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust area and would like to know more about becoming a Community First Responder at work or from home please visit NHS jobs to find out more about recruitment in your area.

South Western Ambulance Charity logo

South Western Ambulance Charity

The South Western Ambulance Charity, founded in 1995, uses gifted monies to benefit those in our communities who use our service and to improve the welfare of the staff and volunteers of the South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust. 

Our charitable support covers Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire including Bristol and Swindon.

If you would like to show your appreciation for the care that you or your loved one has received from us in the form of a charitable donation please visit our online giving website: Donate to South Western Ambulance Charity | Give as you Live Donate