The Citizen Responder is a service which locates and alerts volunteers in case of cardiac arrest. It was first launched in Paris in 2016 in partnership with the Paris Fire Brigade. It is now used daily by firefighters and EMS in more than 30 French states. The service counts more than 50,000 volunteers, all trained in CPR. Nearly 2,000 interventions helped to save many cardiac arrest victims.
Since its inception, a real awareness has taken place and several competitors have emerged, which demonstrates the validity of the approach. However, a major difference lies in the recruitment of volunteers. While most players appeal only to citizens trained or sensitized in CPR, some have opened recruitment to untrained people without checking their credentials.
The development of these services led the French Parliament to adopt, in February 2019, a proposal for a bill presented by Jean-Charles Colas-Roy and Hugues Renson. This proposal introduces in article 1 the concept of citizen responder:
Any person who volunteers and voluntarily supports a person who is clearly in a vital emergency, particularly in a cardio-respiratory distress situation, is a citizen responder.
The citizen responder practises, until the arrival of rescue professionals, the first aid actions that must be carried out, including, if necessary, CPR and the use of an AED.
If everyone agrees that it is better “to do wrong ” than “do nothing ” in front of a victim, sending a person without any training to a person in cardiac arrest is not trivial. This can pose liability issues to the PSAP which sent these untrained volunteers, questions about the effectiveness of the CPR and finally psychological risks for unprepared volunteers to such a situation. For these different reasons, the Citizen Responder has so far chosen to recruit only trained volunteers who can provide a credential.
The AED, a key component of the chain of survival
As evidenced by many scientific publications, the early use of an AED by the bystanders is key for the victim outcome. In addition to alerting Citizen Responders, the ability to quickly locate an AED in an emergency situation is therefore a key component of the chain of survival
Faced with this finding, AEDMAP has developed Staying Alive since 2010. The App is available in 18 languages. It maps AEDs worldwide. In France, it is the leading database with 80,000 registered AED and 1.2 million downloads.
Building on this unique database and the expertise acquired since 2016, the Citizen Responder has decided to expand recruitment to untrained volunteers. New algorithms allow to optimize the response in case of cardiac arrest: the citizen responders are dispatched according to their competence and their location. They are sent either directly to the victim or to a nearby AED. Untrained volunteers are therefore exclusively sent to get an AED.
Anyone, even untrained, can help save a cardiac arrest victim, if only by bringing a defibrillator. It should be recalled that the President of the Republic wished that 80% of the population be trained in CPR before the end of his quinquennium. Becoming a citizen responder is a first step…