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Why do people volunteer for community first responder groups?
  1. Stephen Timmons1,
  2. Alix Vernon-Evans2
  1. 1School of Nursing, Midwifery and Physiotherapy, University of Nottingham, Queen's Medical Centre, Nottingham, UK
  2. 2Department of Intensive Care, Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, Nottingham, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Stephen Timmons, School of Nursing, Midwifery and Physiotherapy, University of Nottingham, Queen's Medical Centre, Nottingham NG7 2UH, UK; stephen.timmons{at}


Background There is a growing number of community first responder (CFR) groups in the UK who provide emergency care in their local communities.

Objective To understand why people volunteer for, and continue to be active in CFR groups.

Design Qualitative study, using focus groups of CFRs. Five focus groups were conducted, with a total of 35 participants.

Results Ideas of altruism and a sense of community were found to be important to volunteers, though motives were complex and individual. Many volunteers had some sort of prior experience relevant to the CFR role, either as health professionals or first-aiders.

Conclusion Though volunteers' motives had some commonalities with the limited literature, there were issues that were unique to the CFR context. The flexibility and autonomy of CFR volunteering was particularly attractive to volunteers. It remains to be seen how sustainable the CFR model is.

  • Automated external defibrillators
  • qualitative research
  • voluntary health agencies
  • cardiac arrest
  • first responders
  • paramedics
  • pre-hospital care
  • remote and rural medicine
  • ethics
  • research
  • teaching

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Ethics approval The ethics approval was provided by University of Nottingham Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences Research Ethics Committee.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.