St John Ambulance WA has developed an Australian-first smartphone app that alerts qualified first aiders to nearby emergency situations and allows them to provide patient care while an ambulance is en route. The free St John First Responder app sends a notification to registered users who are within 500 metres of a public emergency incident.

The responder – who is someone with appropriate first aid training such as an off duty paramedic, doctor, nurse or member of the public – is able to locate the patient and provide immediate, appropriate first aid care. Incidents that will trigger an alert include cardiac arrest, burns and allergic reactions.

Importantly, the app also allows people to dial triple zero (000) and automatically sends GPS coordinates to the St John State Operations Centre, helping paramedics easily locate the patient.
“The First Responder app is an example of how St John Ambulance invests in state-of-the-art tools and technology to ensure we’re able to provide the best care possible and improve patient outcomes,” said St John Ambulance Clinical Services Director Dr. Paul Bailey.

Dr. Bailey said the app – which was developed in WA – was particularly effective in helping provide immediate medical treatment to people suffering a heart attack or cardiac arrest.

“An ambulance will always sent to the scene, regardless of how many first responders are in the vicinity. However, by enlisting trained first aiders nearby, treatment can commence as soon as possible, giving that person the best chance of survival.”

The app also lists the location of registered defibrillators nearby, allowing first responders to retrieve and use a defibrillator during a cardiac arrest.

For people who aren’t registered first responders, the app provides first aid information to treat a range of illnesses and injuries, as well as giving the location and wait times for nearby medical centres and emergency departments.

The First Responder app currently has more than 5000 total users, with 2020 of those registered first responders.

One of those responders is Graham Norman, an IT service delivery manager for Zetta, who has completed first aid training with St John in the past. Mr. Norman works in the CBD and has responded to eight separate emergency incidents, including treating a heart attack patient and an elderly woman who had fallen onto train tracks at Perth Station.

In each situation, Mr. Norman was able to use his first aid skills to provide vital emergency care while an ambulance was en route. His actions were praised by Dr. Bailey.

“Mr. Norman is a shining example of how a member of the public equipped with first aid knowledge has been able to apply his training to making a real difference to the lives of others,” he said.

“We would like to encourage as many people as possible to not only download the First Responder app, but also undertake first aid training so that, like Mr. Norman, they too have the skills to save a life.”

The app is available through the Apple or Google Play app stores. Search: “St John first responder.”

Zetta is pleased to support our employees with these initiatives – our corporate values align strongly and we look forward to further participation in future.

Fact file:

  • First aid is a proven lifesaver. Early defibrillation and effective CPR can double a person’s chance of survival.
  • St John is the leader in first aid in WA, training more than 317,000 Western Australians in first aid each year.
  • The First Responder app will also include first aid guides for spider bites, electric shock, asthma, bleeds and other conditions.
  • 5000 West Australians have downloaded the app, while 2020 have signed on as first responders.

About the St John Ambulance First Responder app:

  • The St John First Responder app includes a range of features, one being its unique first responder capability. The app allows qualified first aiders to sign up as a first responder and be notified when someone has called 000 for an ambulance within 500 metres of their current location and in a public place.
  • To become a first responder you will need to provide evidence of having completed a first aid course within the last three years. Minimum qualification level of HLTAID001 Provide cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
  • First aid instruction guides – helping you to treat a range of injuries and illnesses
  • Triple zero (000) calling with automatic GPS location – calling 000 from the app will send your GPS coordinates direct to the St John State Operation Centre, making it easier for an ambulance to locate you.
  • Defibrillator (AED) locator – showing all the defibrillator locations near you.
  • Upload the location of new defibrillator (AED) locations – that aren’t currently appearing on the app.
  • Locate nearest medical centres and emergency departments – including live ED waiting time information.
  • Patient transport services information.
  • First aid course information and refresher reminder notices

The First Responder is a free app and available on Apple’s App Store and Google Play. You can find out more about how to use the app in our First Aid Responder App Guide.