A few months ago I visited the headquarters of LIVES – an initiative set up in the 1970s to provide first-responder and also a more advanced medical response, to incidents around the Lincolnshire area.
It’s an amazing service. Over seven hundred responders (whose skills range from CPR-providers to GPs and consultant intensivists) are linked to the ambulance control room, and can be recruited at any point by text message. A straightforward system is in place to confirm their ability to attend, and they often reach casualties before the ambulance service, due to the rural and geographically spread out nature of the county.
Their statistics are impressive. Since 2008 LIVES responders have attended over 12,000 calls, with an average response time of 4 minutes 32 seconds. The organisation is backed by a dedicated administration and support team, and local businesses help fund the service. Equipment is provided to most responders. There is even a training section that focuses on providing first aid skills to businesses.
One key to the success of LIVES appears to be their close working relationship with the ambulance service, allowing early dispatch of LIVES responders whilst the ambulance is being summoned too.
For more information, have a look at the LIVES website. This video explains the recruitment process for first responders. Thanks to Dr Yvonne Owen, Clinical Director of LIVES, for allowing this visit and providing further information.