FirstAED – Instant notification of nearby first responders

FirstAED – Instant notification of nearby first responders

Photo: © Region der Lebensretter e.V.

Alerting qualified first aiders in the direct neighborhood of a cardiac arrest emergency per smartphone

Every second counts – smartphones as lifesavers 

In the event of cardiac arrest, immediate resuscitation drastically increases the chances of survival. The organization First AED has made it its mission to shorten the reanimation-free interval to a minimum. It developed a smartphone app which enables the rescue control centers to locate and alert qualified first responders in the immediate vicinity of the emergency. These volunteer lifesavers, who arrive in the first 3-5 minutes after a cardiovascular arrest, keep patients alive with cardiac massage, ventilation or defibrillation until the emergency physician and ambulance arrive and can thus double or quadruple the patient’s chance of survival. The First AED scheme is triggered automatically with the ambulances, with the dispatcher having to do nothing. 

The scheme was first rolled out in 2014 in Denmark and since then has expanded to different regions, most of them in Europe. 

Region der Lebensretter: First AED in Germany

In 2017, the Region der Lebensretter e.V. was founded in Freiburg by leading emergency and intensive care physicians, DRK officials and the city of Freiburg emergency services, and is the fasted growing First AED scheme in the world. 

The power of the scheme is engaging all relevant stakeholders, such as the official rescue control center of the city, the various emergency and ambulance services such as the Red Cross, Johanniter and others, as well as all the entities where trained medical or first aid staff could be reached to inform about this opportunity to engage as a volunteer.

The approach has proven successful: More than 5,000 rescue operations have been executed let alone this year. The initiative was awarded the German Prize for Emergency Medicine in March 2023 

Why this solution is so important 

Sudden cardiac arrest is one of the most common causes of death: Over 50,000 people suffer cardiovascular arrest in Germany each year, and it can strike anyone regardless of age or fitness level. By the time emergency services arrive – 7-9 minutes after the emergency call in major cities, much later in rural areas – the chances of survival are minimal, because irreversible damage to the brain occurs after only a short time. Only about 10-15% of patients survive, even though there have been enormous advances in emergency and intensive care medicine in recent decades. The fact is that the survival rate is 50% if resuscitation is started within the first four minutes. In other words, if life-saving measures are started immediately, patients have a real chance of survival.


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Contribution to the 17 Global Goals

Good Health and Well-Being

Saving people’s lives by smartphone through faster first aid in an emergency

Partnerships for the Global Goals

Strong collaborations and partnerships with multiple health and emergency service organizations enabled

Sustainable Cities and Communities

Increasing the quality of life in cities and communities through faster and better primary care

Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

Via smartphone app, lives can be saved through more efficient first-aid measures




Photos: © Region der Lebensretter e.V.