I had my first baby at home and it was the best decision that I made. All my other NCT friends had horrible births in hospital, most being cut open and this probably wouldn't have been the case if they had them at home.
I definitely would have been cut open if in hospital as I was pushing for a lot longer than they would have allowed me to in hospital. Everything was fine with me and baby it just took a bit longer than the doctors would have allowed.
Both my husband and mother were against it at the start but once my husband met the midwife and talked through each scenario he was then a lot more happier about the idea.
The midwife carries with her resuscitation equipment and anything that she might need in an emergency. She will general spot anything that isn't right a lot quicker than any midwife in hospital as she is giving you one to one care and her career depends on it. Generally independent midwifes have a lot more experience than the midwifes in hospital and that experience can be much needed if you have an emergency.
I would say you have to be the right type of person, you have to believe in yourself that you can get through the whole process with just gas and air.
The best part of the experience was having a bath with my newborn straight after he was born and then having lovely home cooked food and being tucked up in my own bed. Much better than a labour ward!
Even if you don't manage to have the baby at home I would definitely recommend an independent midwife as the after care you receive is so needed for a first time parent. They will visit you up to 6 - 8 weeks after the baby is born and this support with breast feeding, the many questions you will have about the new born and the support they give you is unquestionable the best money we ever spent.
The website for the midwife I used is here http://www.birthrites.uk.com
she was brilliant
hope that helps