History and experience of a volunteer ambulance first responder scheme in London

Emergency responders (ERs) are volunteers who attend category 1 (immediately life-threatening) and category 2 (emergency) 999 calls on behalf of the London Ambulance Service NHS Trust (LAS). ERs aim to arrive first on scene to these incidents to provide essential life-saving interventions prior to the arrival of further ambulance resources. ERs come from a wide range of backgrounds and undergo a thorough selection, training and mentorship process before advancing to working in a two-person ER crew. Compared to most traditional volunteer first responder schemes, the LAS ER scheme, which was set up in 2008, involves an enhanced skillset, dispatch to medical and traumatic emergencies in addition to cardiac arrest, and the use of blue-light vehicles to reduce response times. Over a period of 13 years, the scheme has grown in scope and size, and now operates with more than 120 volunteers based at seven ambulance stations across London.

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