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First responder Sven Baars: ‘Emergency services appreciate first response’

20 January 2017

If you’re a first responder for Stan the CPR network, from one minute to the next, you could be called out of your regular civilian life and be right in the middle of a resuscitation. This is intense, especially when the victim, despite every effort made, doesn’t make it. Sven Baars lived through it. He shares his story with Stan.

Resuscitation alert

It was a quiet afternoon and I enjoyed the sunshine. Suddenly I got a text on my mobile: RESUSCITATION ALERT 13:49. I didn’t hesitate a moment, and responded with ‘yes’ and quickly made my way there. It was at the local swimming pool. A man was taken from the steam room and was not responding. Staff immediately started resuscitation and called the emergency number 112.


I was the first – and, I later realised, only – first responder to come to the incident. The AED which had now been hooked up constantly showed: ‘no shock advised’. That is why I offered my help to the pool employees. The person performing resuscitation told me I’d best take over mouth-to-mouth. The pool employees were pleased with my extra assistance.

First responders

While I was resuscitating, the sirens could already be heard in the distance. It was the fire brigade first responders. They took over after my fourth set of chest compressions. One of the first responders asked me to go outside and receive the other emergency servers. Thanks to my recognisable vest, I could quickly send ambulance staff to the scene of the incident. It wasn’t long before two police cars and two ambulances arrived.

Local residents

By that time a lot of local residents had come to see what was going on. I couldn’t tell them anything. I was able to console a mother who came running in a panic. She had heard in the supermarket that the incident involved a child. I was able to inform her that that was not the case.

Passed away

A short while later, the fire brigade came out. I was informed I could go back inside. Then I heard from ambulance staff that unfortunately, the victim has passed away. I was offered a cup of coffee and victim support. Although resuscitation proved ineffective, I received compliments from all emergency services.

Professional first responders

Professional first responders told me that they are very happy with first responders who can make the first effort. Professionals see that as first responders, we do our very best and are often able to perform chest compressions during the crucial first minutes.


I always like reading other first responders’ experiences. This gives me support in processing resuscitations, especially when it’s unsuccessful. You can read that you’re definitely not the only first responder out there making a difference to other people!