Volunteer paramedics -- called Community First Responders -- provide initial emergency care and transportation to critically ill and injured patients across the UK in conjunction with 999 emergency control centres and the regional NHS ambulance trusts. The volunteers are not intended as a substitute for the ambulance services, but because they are based in local communities they can often attend medical emergencies quickly -- often within the first few minutes -- and maybe first on the scene. Volunteer paramedics most commonly serve in small towns and rural communities. While full-time ambulance paramedics are paid, there are many opportunities to volunteer.
Before becoming a volunteer paramedic, you must first undertake training. You will learn to perform CPR, manage bleeding, shock and splint fractures.
Community First Responders must also undertake training for treating common injuries and using an automated external defibrillator (AED). The St John Ambulance voluntary organisation arranges training for Community First Responders.
Apply to your local NHS ambulance trust or through the St John Ambulance to become a Community First Responders. Once accepted, you will be on call for emergencies and will work shifts based on a rota. Usually you need only commit to a few hours per month.