Cardiac First Responder Groups

Are you a cardiac first responder? Would you like to be?

A Cardiac First Responder is a person trained to a minimum basic level of basic life support in CPR and the use of an AED/defibrillator who attends to assist in an actual or potentially life threatening emergency such as a cardiac arrest, heart attack, stroke or choking.


What is a cardiac arrest? And why every minute matters.


A cardiac arrest occurs when a person’s heart stops beating and they will collapse suddenly and will not be breathing normally (either only gasping or not breathing at all) and they will also not respond. When a person suffers a cardiac arrest and they don’t receive prompt CPR their chance of survival decreases by 10 percent for every minute that nothing is done.


Ambulance response times, and rural areas in particular.


In rural areas around Ireland an ambulance may be required to travel a long distance to assist those suffering from a cardiac or respiratory arrest, ineffective breathing or choking. In such instances the timeframe for helping the patient is crucial; that’s why the HSE National Ambulance Service is integrating groups of community first responders in such areas who are dispatched simultaneously with the National Ambulance Service.

It is important to note that this does not delay the response of an ambulance which is still dispatched as a priority but because these responders live or work locally they may be able to arrive and initiate lifesaving steps until the ambulance arrives.


The Support Available to Cardiac First Responder Schemes


The HSE National Ambulance Service will generally provide the following supports to Cardiac First Responder Schemes that integrate with the ambulance service:



How to establish a Cardiac First Responder Group in your community


Are you interested or know someone who might be? Community or other groups interested in establishing a CFR Group and who wish to be linked to the National Ambulance Service should make contact directly with the HSE National Ambulance Service via email.

The Irish Heart Foundation does not link groups to the National Ambulance Service but can provide information and support to groups setting up their programme. The Foundation also works with the National Ambulance Service to provide instructor training for linked groups so they are able to conduct ongoing CPR training in their community.

A first responder group may also find further information and can link to other groups through the CFR Ireland network which is a coordinated group for CFR Groups.

And remember when a heart stops, every second matters. It could be you or someone you know. But if we work as a community, we are all better protected.


More on CPR

Our guides on all you need to know about CPR.

CPR 4 Schools

The programme aims to train a generation of students who will have the skills to perform CPR in cardiac emergencies.

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Find a Course in Your Area

Find a course in your area today and be ready. Cardiac arrest can happen to anyone, at any age, from kids to grandparents.

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