Community First Responder speaks on importance of volunteers

Community First Responders (CFRs) are volunteers who are trained by the Scottish Ambulance Service to attend certain types of emergency calls in the area – such as cardiac arrests - where they live or work.

Their aim is to reach a potential life-threatening emergency in the first vital minutes before the ambulance crew arrives. 

Two public meetings were held this week encouraging people to join schemes in the Skye area. Ricky Laird, Community Resilience Team Leader (North), spoke at both meetings, receiving a good response.

The Scottish Ambulance Service wants to encourage more people in the areas of Skye, Lochalsh and South West Ross to become a CFR.

One of those already a volunteer is CFR Lesley MacLean, who joined the Waternish CFR scheme in May 2016. She is now co-ordinator of the group.

She said: “There were three volunteers seeking to join the Waternish scheme at that time and we were fortunate to be able to join with another group of recruits for our training.  This was undertaken locally over two weekends.  I became co-ordinator for the Waternish CFR Group in 2017.”

She said she attends a number of jobs, such as cardiac arrest, and CFRs are “trained to deal with a number of scenarios”. They are an invaluable link in the Chain of Survival - early intervention, early CPR, early defibrillation, and post-resuscitation care.

Lesley added: “We will only be called to an incident for which we have been trained.  Generally, the calls we receive relate to cardiac or breathing issues.  

“We live in a small community and hopefully the ambulance is not required too often.  Whilst we are happy to respond to calls, it is also reassuring not to receive calls as it means there is not a huge demand from people needing ambulances!”

She said they operate a rota system and have a diverse group of volunteers - if you are over 18 and have a full driving licence you are eligible to apply.

Speaking of the benefits of CFR schemes, she said: “It’s important to be able to provide support to your community.   The local community have been fantastic in supporting us with fundraising to purchase training equipment.”

Ricky Laird said: “Community First Responders (CFRs) are highly valued by the Scottish Ambulance Service and are a dedicated and important asset to the communities they serve.”

Contact Ricky at if you are interested in becoming a CFR


Posted on 17/02/2022