The role and responsibilities of an emergency first aider

An emergency first aider has various roles and responsibilities. It is important first aiders take these roles and responsibilities seriously as first aid is potentially lifesaving in an emergency situation.First aider

The role of a first aider is to provide immediate, lifesaving, medical care before the arrival of further medical help. This could include performing procedures such as:

  • Placing an unconscious casualty into the recovery position
  • Performing Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
  • Using an automated external defibrillator (AED)
  • Stopping bleeding using pressure and elevation
  • Keeping a fractured limb still

A first aider’s overall aim should be to preserve life. Other aims of first aid include prevent the worsening of the patient’s condition and to promote recovery. Take a look at our article on the aims of first aid for more information.

A first aider has various responsibilities when dealing with an emergency situation. A first aider should:

  • Manage the incident and ensure the continuing safety of themselves, bystanders and the casualty
  • Assess casualties and find out the nature & cause of their injuries
  • Arrange for further medical help or other emergency services to attend (e.g: the fire service)
  • If trained, prioritise casualties based upon medical need
  • Provide appropriate first aid treatment as trained
  • If able, make notes/observations of casualties
  • Fill out any paperwork as required
  • Provide a handover when further medical help arrives

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2 Responses

  1. moonmoon says:

    I’d argue another role of a first aid provider would to be assume a position of leadership in an emergency. If a disaster strikes, and you’re the only one with training around, you’re going to have to overcome the Bystander Effect, and guide those you around into helping you — particularly if there a lot of people hurt. Being a calm, authoritative presence in the midst of a problem can really do a lot to calm a panicked situation, and in a disaster you need as many clear heads as you can get!

    • Linkzelda41 says:

      I agree with you moonmoon, and I feel there would be a distinction between delegations vs. leadership. Because even though the person may be the only one competent enough to assess the situation and bypass the Bystander Effect, if they can’t have enough humility to know more people to help can help in sustaining the life of an individual, it sort of defeats the purpose of the role of a first aider.

      It can be scary whenever one is in a situation like that, and it’s even scarier whenever it actually happens to the individual that needs to be saved! I remember falling down and lapsing in consciousness for a few seconds due to dehydration and having inadequate amount of sleep. I was fortunate to have the assistant coach at the time to aid me, and I realized that most people just looked at me falling victim to the Bystander Effect. I guess it’s really true that people either have no conscience in a person falling down like that, or they just don’t know how to handle the situation.

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