Community responders are volunteers from the local community and often include members of St John Ambulance, Red Cross and other individuals with a clinical background. First responders are individuals working for the fire and police services, who also respond to ambulance 999 calls while on duty. In all cases, responders are deployed by a national health service ambulance trust to appropriate 999 calls.
Community and first responders in England make themselves available to respond to appropriate 999 calls at the request of a NHS ambulance trust and to provide aid to the patient while the ambulance response is en route, having been dispatched at around the same time as the ambulance vehicle. Calls are usually those where life is in immediate danger such as cardiac arrest. Responders are trained in basic life support and have equipment such as defibrillators.
Their precise roles and responsibilities are a matter for the host ambulance trust.