How It Works
For now ACFR covers night shifts only; these are from 7pm to 7am. Our aim is to expand this to 24-7 coverage if and when we get enough volunteers.
Before the beginning of a shift the responder from the previous shift hands over the bag and AED (defibrillator). The responder coming on call checks the bag ensuring that it is in good order and check that the AED is functional and that the dispatch phone is charged and working. How to do all of this is covered in the training class.
If a 999 or 112 call is received for an ECHO level call ACFR will be dispatched. The ambulance service uses a priority medical dispatch system. When the call is taken certain questions are asked and based on the answers the system determines the level of response that is appropriate: ALPHA (A) through ECHO (E). Community First Responders are sent to ECHO level calls only. Dispatch is received over the ACFR phone and the dispatcher will give the call details and address.
ACFR operates a two person system, so the responder will then call the second responder on their own phone and pass the details to them. The first responders both drive (non-emergency) to the location and provide CPR and use the AED as appropriate based on their training. When the ambulance or paramedic squad arrives the CFR team passes care to the ambulance crew giving appropriate detail, again covered in the class.The responders then fill in a patient contact report about the incident; restock any supplies used and go back on call.
This will not happen very often; we expect to get only 3 or 4 night calls per month. When it does happen, the role performed by Community First Responders is critical!