The National Ambulance Service has a network of 300 first responder programmes across Ireland however we do not have one in every community in Ireland yet. If you wish to establish a scheme in your local area, we would be more than happy to guide you through the process.
The National Ambulance Service (NAS), as the statutory provider of pre-hospital care in Ireland will be happy to speak with your local community about establishing a community first response programme. The NAS Community Engagement Unit through its Community Engagement Officers (CEO) will be your primary point of contact to discuss the establishment of your scheme. You can find details of your local CEO here
CFR Ireland is the primary representative body of CFRs in Ireland. They are experienced first responders who provide support and advice to Community First Responder programme and have regional representatives based all around Ireland. You can find details of your CFR Ireland Rep here
CFR Schemes are a powerful tool when developing community resilience but it’s important to establish if there is a demand for it within your Community. Have a look at our Schemes Map to see if one exists , or contact NAS. CFR schemes do require commitment from founding committees to launch so you want to ensure that your community will be fully supportive from both a fundraising and membership perspective. For smaller communities around Ireland, Public Access Defib programmes might be more suitable, details of which can be found here. Some areas will hold a public meeting while others will create a following through local contacts or a pre-established organisation.
Establishing a scheme committee comprising of the scheme coordinator (Chair) and team members who have the skills and commitment in developing the scheme can be beneficial in organizing the initial steps of establishing a scheme and supporting the continued development of the scheme moving forward.
Scheme committees can be instrumental in developing training, recruitment, public awareness, administration, equipment provision / maintenance and in funding the scheme activities. It is important that founders are aware of good governance practices at this point and aim to develop that scheme committee that is representative of their membership.
Refer to the NAS CFR policy document or contact NAS / CFR Ireland for assistance in the establishment of a scheme committee structure.
The process of recruiting volunteers can be difficult unless clarity around the role is provided. This clarity and clear expectations should form part of an overall recruitment plan encompassing local & social media, engagement with relevant organisations such as the local volunteer centre and through an initial training and introductory process.
A step by step approach such as outlined below may be particularly effective at the initial setup stage:
- Establish how many volunteers will be required for the scheme to operate.
- Set out clear volunteer expectations / requirements
- Engage with the NAS and support agencies
- Set an introductory meeting (recruitment event) within the community
- Publicize this information through appropriate local channels.
- Ensure all materials and agenda is set for the recruitment event
- Ensure follow up is completed with interested volunteers
Each location will have its specified requirements, by engaging with any and all support organisations a firm and locally appropriate recruitment plan can be implemented.
There are various ways to other ways recruit volunteers to your local scheme.
Word of mouth – As an active member you can tell family and friends about what CFR do, and the sense of being part of a community that being a CFR brings.
Social Media – Set up your local CFR scheme on Facebook, Instagram, have a twitter account, or develop a simple website that you can direct members of the public to for information. Contact your local newspaper or radio station to see if they would be interested in promoting the good work of CFR.
Recruitment Drive – Organise a day in your local supermarket, community centre, park area or centre of town or village to promote what CFR do. Bring the AED and a practice dummy and other equipment to demonstrate CPR to the general public. You can also use this as a fundraiser.
CPR demonstrations – Offer to demonstrate CPR in your local primary and secondary schools, local businesses, other volunteer organisations, hotels etc. This not only educates the public it is a valuable way to recruit members.
As part of your training to become a Community First Responder, there is a number of short online courses that each member must complete before moving onto the Garda Vetting stage. The current courses that need to be completed are as follows:
An introduction to Child First – can be found here (LINK https://childrenfirst.hseland.ie/ )
Critical Incident Stress Management – CISM, course can be found here: (LINK) https://www.dillonacademy.com/client/responder/login/index.php
As part of Covid Procedures, a member will also need to complete the following 4 courses which can be found on HseLand.ie
1. AMRIC Hand Hygiene
2. Putting on and taking off PPE in acute healthcare settings.
3. Putting on and taking off PPE in community healthcare settings.
4. National Standards for infection prevention and control in community services: Putting the standards into practice
All these courses need to be completed before you can move onto the next stage of training.
Garda vetting is a vital component in order to ensure the safety of the children and vulnerable adults. As Community First Responders you will be in contact with people at their times of need so vetting is a necessary component of any organisation. CFR schemes cannot transfer vetting, they must register in their own right. In order to complete Garda Vetting, the CFR scheme must register with for Garda vetting with their local Volunteer Centre. Volunteer Ireland have a network of Volunteer Centres located all around Ireland, generally in each county. Details on can be found on volunteer.ie.
- Nominate a Garda Vetting Officer
- Contact your local Volunteer Centre
As part of the training, a classroom-based course will also be provided to ensure you are ready to “Go on Call” This course will cover all the call types you will responded to as a CFR and will be delivered by a PHECC CFR Instructor.
This training will take approximately 4-4 ½ hours and will cover:
- Adult and Infant CPR
- The use of an AED,
- Chest Pain, and Stroke Call.
You will also look at Patient Handover, Team Resuscitation, The correct use of PPE, and a refresh of CISM.
This course will be provided by your NAS Instructor, and once complete you will be issued with an Irish Heart Foundation CFRC certificate. Some CFR scheme may already have instructors and if this is the case, NAS can support these instructors in the delivery of their material.
In order to ensure competence, NAS will aim to train a local instructor who can support the scheme with ongoing and regular training.
Well done, you have got the hard work done – now it is time to launch your scheme. Before doing this, your Community Engagement Officer will arrange to meet you to ensure you are happy with the process and procedure associated with launching.