Modeling the Impact of Community First Responders

Pieter L. van den Berg, Shane G. Henderson, Caroline J. Jagtenberg*, Hemeng Li

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


In Community First Responder (CFR) systems, traditional emergency service response is augmented by a network of trained volunteers who are dispatched via an app. A central application of such systems is out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA), where a very fast response is crucial. For a target performance level, how many volunteers are needed and from which locations should they be recruited? We model the presence of volunteers throughout a region as a Poisson point process, which permits the computation of the response-time distribution of the first-arriving volunteer. Combining this with known survival-rate functions, we deduce survival probabilities in the cardiac arrest setting. We then use convex optimization to compute a location distribution of volunteers across the region that optimizes either the fraction of incidents with a fast response (a common measure in the industry) or patient survival in the case of OHCA. The optimal location distribution provides a bound on the best possible performance with a given number of volunteers. This can be used to determine whether introducing a CFR system in a new region is worthwhile, or serve as a guide for additional recruitment in existing systems. Effective target areas for recruitment are not always obvious, since volunteers recruited from one area may be found in various areas across the city depending on the time of day; we explicitly capture this issue. We demonstrate these methods through an extended case study of Auckland, New Zealand.
Original languageEnglish
JournalManagement Science
Publication statusPublished - 26 Apr 2024

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