You are helping students to save lives

It’s a Friday night in Nottingham. The city is alive with partygoers. Two students, Helen and Adam, are parked up by Forest Rec when the call comes in. "56 year old male, unconscious, category one, Lenton."

They arrive at the scene before the ambulance. It’s a disco and the patient is passed out in the corner – a diabetic coma.

It’s dark, there’s loud music and people are dancing while they set to work taking his pulse, monitoring his respiration rate and getting him in the recovery position. Before long, two ambulances arrive and take over. The paramedics scoop the patient up, get him in the ambulance and leave. It’s all over in under five minutes.

Helen and Adam are Community First Responders – a group of trained student volunteers who help the East Midlands Ambulance Service by responding to emergency calls and caring for patients while an ambulance is en-route.

Helen in car

Helen, a second year medicine student, co-ordinates the Community First Responders. The call that Friday night was the first time she had experienced a category one call – a category reserved for the most urgent and life-threatening cases.

"When we got the call it was exciting, but also quite scary. Your adrenaline hits but you focus when you get into it. Luckily he was breathing, so we started taking observations and put him into the recovery position. By the time we’d done that two ambulances attended the scene. When they come running in we let them take over.

"We don’t get a lot of information when we get the initial call – a few symptoms, a name and location and then we’re off. We have high visibility jackets for jobs at night and we have the cars with the Battenberg pattern so it looks a bit like an ambulance. Everyone knows what you are when you’re arriving and that really helps you to feel safe."

A Cascade grant helped the student Community First Responders launch in 2014. Five years later, your support for Cascade is helping the student responders to reach more people in need, thanks to new specialist vehicles and equipment.

“We owe a huge thank you to everyone who supports Cascade. The new vehicles have made a massive difference − the scheme couldn’t run without them. They’re safer to drive and have added a level of professionalism which has been noticed by both patients and ambulance crews on scene.

"Our new kit bags mean we can carry everything we need in a  single well-organised backpack. We no longer have to struggle to carry all the kit separately and it’s much easier to find the piece of equipment we need when we are with the patient – those few seconds can make all the difference.

Resuscitation bags

"Thank you for making this possible for us."




In 2018...

Thanks to your support, Community First Responders attended 1,056 jobs including:


Cardiac arrests

Breathing difficulties

Chest pains







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