First responders are people trained in advanced first aid who can respond at the same time as, and often more quickly than, ambulance services to suspected medical emergencies. Hatzolah is a volunteer First Responder group, based on halakhic (Jewish legal) principles, in a localised area of metropolitan Melbourne with the highest density of Holocaust survivors outside Israel. Low numbers of call-outs to Victoria s Metropolitan Ambulance Service (MAS) from this community suggested that many were reluctant to make contact with a uniformed external agency. Hatzolah is an autonomous organisation operating under adapted MAS clinical practice guidelines and clinical governance processes. Hatzolah responders undergo an 18-month MAS training course comprising first aid, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, the use of semiautomated defibrillators, and oxygen therapy. We describe the first 11 years (1995-2005) of the Hatzolah service. The number of patients attended to annually has risen steadily, peaking at 867 in 2005. The most frequent reasons for call-outs were falls (19.4 ), chest pain (9.7 ), or respiratory distress (7.6 ). Hatzolah s median response times were 2 or 3 min for all cases. They attended 35 patients with cardiac arrest (median response time, 2 min), and arrived before the MAS to 29 call-outs (83 ). Nineteen patients (54 ) with cardiac arrest were resuscitated and transported from the scene alive. Among those transported, significantly more had a shockable cardiac rhythm (50 v 13 , P = 0.03). Five (14 ) survived to hospital discharge. Hatzolah has evolved into an organisation providing a complementary service to the MAS. It serves as a model for the establishment of other metropolitan community First Responder groups.
|Pages (from-to)||639 - 642|
|Number of pages||4|
|Journal||Medical Journal of Australia|
|Publication status||Published - 2007|