Main Index



Brightlingsea First Responders are volunteers from the community who are trained by the East of England Ambulance Service in basic life support including oxygen therapy and the use of a defibrillator.  We provide the ambulance service with an immediate local response in cases where minutes can save lives – people with chest pains, breathing difficulties, choking or unconsciousness.  In these instances the Emergency Operations Centre calls us (on a dedicated mobile phone) at the same time as they are despatching their emergency vehicle(s).  Coupled with cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) we can use our defibrillator to restart someone’s heart.  Once the ambulance crew arrives the First Responder hands the patient over, although there are times when the crew asks us to continue our treatment jointly with them.

 We average a four-minute response time, including when we’re called in the middle of the night, and are currently attending around 3 incidents a week - we have now (December 2014) been on over 2,600 life-threatening calls since forming in May 1997.  Early attendance to a ‘chest pain’ call can prevent a patient’s condition worsening and so halt a full cardiac arrest.  So far seven arrests have been re-started.

 The oxygen we carry provides a very effective, immediate benefit to patients.  We also feel that we are a source of comfort to patients and their loved ones during the naturally worrying time waiting for the professionals to arrive.”

 Ours was the first group to be set up in the county, and in fact is thought to be the first in the country.  Our call sign is the enviable “Echo Zulu One”.

 The group currently has 8 members, including our ambulance service trainer and link manager.  We are all volunteers, using our own vehicles and paying for our fuel, and aim to provide a 24/7, 365 days a year service.  We have no dispensation to break speed limits or any other road traffic laws and we do not carry blue lights, flashing headlights or sirens.

 We are very grateful for the support of local organisations and townsfolk who have generously provided, amongst many other things, the following:

  •  a training defibrillator;
  • a sophisticated adult resuscitation manikin;
  • a manikin for training to treat choking patients;
  • a pulse-oximeter to measure a patient’s oxygen levels in their blood, and take their pulse;
  • an illuminated rooftop sign and retro-reflective signs for each member.

To date the value of donated equipment has exceeded £7,000.





CALL Jeremy Crawley (Joint Coordinator) 01206 305494
Steve Houston (Joint Coordinator) 01206 305727
Steve Wicks (Treasurer) 01206 308125

John and Pat Eaton are retiring after 13 years dedicated service.

There is a lot more about Community First Responders on the East of England Ambulance Service website: and you will also find Brightlingsea First Responders on Facebook.

Link to the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust:

To find First Responders, click on ‘Services’, then ‘Accident and Emergency’.  There is a link to Community First Responders near the bottom of the article.