CFR Ireland

All the right answers

Community First Responders Ireland

The most frequent questions


  • What is CFR Ireland?
  • Where did CFRIreland Start?
  • Role of CFR Ireland
  • Who is CFR Ireland?
  • What is a Community First Responder Group?
  • Is their funding available to CFR GROUPS?
  • What practical support will the National Ambulance Service provide?
  • A Cardiac First Responder is:
  • What does a Community First Responder do?
  • How many responders do you need to form a CFR GROUP?
  • Types of First Responder Schemes
  • Do I need special motor insurance?
  • Do I need Clinical Indemnity Insurance?
  • Do I need Garda Clearance?
What is CFR Ireland?

CFR Ireland is the national umbrella Organisation for Community First Responder Groups in Ireland. CFR Ireland is run by volunteers living in communities across Ireland. Our aims are to affiliate all community first responder groups in Ireland, to help grow community responder schemes, to communicate best practice for treatment of cardiac arrest in the communities and strengthen the “Chain of Survival”.

CFR Ireland is supported by the;

  • National Ambulance Service
  • Pre Hospital Emergency Care Council
  • Centre of Emergency Medical Science UCD
Where did CFRIreland Start?

CFR Ireland was formed at the Respond 2014 conference held on the 1st March 2014.

Respond 2014 was the first time that a national conference took place that brought together all the Community Responder Groups operating in Ireland at a national conference.

Role of CFR Ireland

CFR Ireland was set up to promote and assist CFR groups that provide first response to people living in their communities who suffer Cardiac Arrest, Choking, Cardiac Chest Pain and Stroke.

CFRI do this by providing assistance & information on:

  • Group formation
  • Operation procedures
  • Training
  • Lobbying
Who is CFR Ireland?

CFR Ireland or Community First Responder Ireland is a national organisation for first responders groups in Ireland. It is currently in “set up mode” and is run by an executive committee of 6 volunteers from different Community First Responder. They are the same committee that planned and organised Respond 2014. They are tasked with getting CFR Ireland up and running. We held our inaugural AGM in 2015 where an interim committee was elected.

What is a Community First Responder Group?

Community First Responders are a groups of volunteers, linked to the National Ambulance Service and despatched by the 999/112 National Ambulance Service to emergencies within their communities.

Community First Responders are only dispatched to cardiac arrest, adult chest pain (suspected heard attack), stroke and choking emergencies in their communities.

Most responder Groups have organised themselves to be “on call 24/7” to respond to these emergencies.

The Groups purchased their own AEDs (Automated External Defibrillators) and training equipment by fundraising;

The training is carried out by The Pre Hospital Emergency Care Council (PHECC) CFR Instructors and the work is carried out by the volunteers who give up their time to be “on call”.

Community First Responders have been trained to perform CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation), how to use an AED, perform aspirin therapy for adult chest pain and carried out a FAST assessment for possible stroke and.

Upon receipt of a 999/112 call Community First responders are dispatched simultaneously with the National Ambulance Service. First Responders are only dispatched to calls within a three mile (5km) radius of their Communities.

Because the people “on call” live or work in their area, they can respond in minutes and provide emergency measures and reassurance until the Ambulance Service arrives.

Is their funding available to CFR GROUPS?

Community First Responder Schemes are completely voluntary groups. They receive no central funding. There may be local grants available from local funding originations like the leader program or local authority.

All the commitment, training, fund raising etc. is carried out by the volunteers, ordinary people, living in communities, in their own time and at their own expense.

What practical support will the National Ambulance Service provide?

NAS will provide the following supports to integrated First Responder Schemes:

  • Effective Liaison
  • Recognition
  • Provision of expert advice and support
  • Clinical Guidance
  • Clinical Indemnity
  • Replacement of Consumables
  • Access to Critical Incident Stress Management Support
  • Management of Clinical Waste
A Cardiac First Responder is:

A person who has successfully completed a Pre Hospital Emergency Care Council (PHECC) approved Cardiac First Responder course – Community level, within the last two years.
The Cardiac First Responder Course is designed to allow participants attain a basic understanding of Basic Life Support situations and their treatment. This course is Level 1 on the PHECC (Pre-Hospital Emergency Care Council) Training Standards.

The covers the “Chain of Survival”, what to do in the event of a Cardiac Arrest, Adult, Child & Infant CPR, how to use an AED (Defibrillator) Adult Chest Pain Management (suspected Heart Attack), Aspirin Therapy, Stroke recognition using F.A.S.T., and Choking .

What does a Community First Responder do?

A person trained, as a minimum in basic life support and the use of an Automated External Defibrillator (AED), who attends a potentially life threatening emergency in their area.

A Community First Responder is a member of the public who volunteers to help their community by responding to medical emergencies while the ambulance is on its way.

You are then able to provide an early intervention in situations such as a heart attack or cardiac arrest or chocking or stroke before the National Ambulance Service crew arrives.

The Responders role is to deliver an emergency and urgent care response for their communities.

We know that in responses to certain emergency situation, every second counts: e.g. cardiac arrest,   stroke and heart attack. International evidence is clear, equipping communities with equipment and basic life-saving skills will save lives.

The objective is to be on the scene of a suspected Heart Attack or Cardiac Arrest within 10 minutes of receiving the Emergency SMS from Ambulance Control.

After arriving at the scene our First Responders will be;

  • Clearing and controlling the airway of an unconscious patient.
  • Providing resuscitation and defibrillation.
  • Making them feel more comfortable and at ease.
  • Taking basic observations.
  • Reassuring worried relatives and taking charge of the situation.
  • Using local knowledge to ensure that the Ambulance can find the location quickly.
How many responders do you need to form a CFR GROUP?

There are no set numbers for any one CFR group; you should try to start with about 20 people for training. If you consider that each responder would do 12 hours a week, you would need a minimum of 14 responders to cover a full week. However you must always remember that the responders are volunteers giving up their time to serve their community and some may only have a few hours a week to give. Remember too, that at holiday time group may not be able to provide 24/7 cover. You can only do your best.

Types of First Responder Schemes
  1. Linked Community First Responders
    1. Community First Responder Scheme-Basic
    2. Community First Responder Scheme-Enhanced
  2. Public Assess Defibrillator Schemes (PADS)
  3. Site specific
  4. GP First Responders
  5. NAS Off Duty Scheme
  6. Fire Service Scheme
  7. Garda Responders
Do I need special motor insurance?

No, you do not need special motor insurance. However, all Community First Responder schemes linked to National Ambulance Service must comply with the National Ambulance Service Community First Responders “Policies & Procedures”. One requirement of the NAS policy is that all Community First Responder group members must inform their Motor Insurance provider that they are a Community First Responder and they must receive confirmation that they have done this either by letter, email or stated on the Motor Insurance Policy.

Do I need Clinical Indemnity Insurance?

All Community First Responders, dispatch by the National Ambulance Service to emergencies are covered by the National Ambulance Service Clinical Indemnity.

Please note, the National Ambulance Service Community First Responders states that the minimum level of training required to be a Community First Responder and be dispatched by NAS, to an emergency, is a PHECC Cardiac First Responder. There are Clinical Practise Guidelines (CPGs) laid down for the Cardiac First Responder training standard. As long as the Community First Responder does not exceed this standard maximum level the Responder will be covered under the NAS Clinical Indemnity.

If Community First Responders operate outside our Cardiac First Responder, Clinical Practise Guidelines (CPGs) they are operating outside the Clinical Indemnity.

So, once you are a Community First Responder with at least Cardiac First Responder training and are dispatched by the National Ambulance Service and you stay within the Cardiac First Responder Clinical Practise Guidelines you are covered by the National Ambulance Service Clinical Indemnity.

Do I need Garda Clearance?

Yes, under the current NAS Community First Responder policy Community First Responders are required to have Garda Clearance.  CFR Ireland recommends that Community First Responder Groups register with their local Volunteer Centre. One way of attaining Garda Clearance is through your local Volunteer Centre (Volunteer Ireland). For more details please see www.volunteer.ie



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