First Aid

What is a First Aider? First Aider Course & Responsibilities

Ricky Kambray
Ricky Kambray

Picture yourself in a moment of crisis where a loved one suddenly chokes or suffers a serious injury. The fear and urgency are overwhelming as you search desperately for someone who can help. Now, picture yourself as someone with the skills and knowledge to provide immediate assistance, offering a lifeline in those critical moments. This is where the importance of a First Aider Course shines through.

In this blog, we’ll explore the vital role of a first aider, the significance of undergoing a First Aider Course, and the invaluable responsibilities that come with this life-saving training. 

Join us as we explore the realm of first aid and empower ourselves to become the heroes our loved ones may rely on in times of need.

First, we will explore a brief overview of a first aider.

Close-up of cartoonish illustration of CPR session

Who is a First Aider?

A first aider is someone who has received training in basic medical skills to provide immediate help in emergency situations. They are prepared to —

  • assess injuries, 
  • offer initial treatment, 
  • and stabilise the condition of an injured or ill person until professional medical assistance arrives. 

For example, in the case of a minor accident at the workplace, a first aider would be the person who quickly responds, applies appropriate first aid techniques like bandaging a wound, and ensures the individual’s safety and well-being while awaiting further medical attention.

Discover the secret to effective first aid with our engaging blog post, “What does ABC Stand for in First Aid? – A Complete Guide.” Unleash your life-saving potential and become an expert in the essential ABC techniques.

Two first aiders observing a Senior with Heart attack symptoms

Significance of a First Aider Course

When it comes to emergencies, accidents, or sudden medical incidents, having individuals trained in first aid can be the difference between life and death. Here are some key reasons why the first-aider course is of utmost significance:

  • First-aider courses equip individuals with prompt and effective care skills in critical moments.
  • Learning CPR, AED usage, and essential techniques enable first-aiders to save lives.
  • First aid training promotes safety awareness and helps prevent accidents by identifying and mitigating risks.
  • Confidence and empowerment result from knowing how to handle unexpected incidents.
  • First-aiders make valuable contributions to teams, communities, and the well-being of others.
  • Personal and professional development is enhanced through first aid training, fostering responsibility and career growth.
  • Trained first aiders fulfil legal requirements for workplaces and events in some jurisdictions.

Discover the vital importance and objectives of first aid in emergencies with our captivating blog post, “What is the Aim of First Aid? – An Overview.”

Close-up of cartoonish illustration of doctor holding lifebuoy

How to Become a First Aider?

Embarking on the journey to become a first aider is an exciting and fulfilling adventure. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you along the way:

Research Reputable Training Providers

Start by researching reputable training providers in your area. Look for organisations that offer accredited first aid courses endorsed by recognised bodies. For instance, we offer various first-aid training accredited by Continuing Professional Development (CPD). A certificate from CPD Certification Service holds global recognition among employers, professional organisations, and academic institutions, adding significant value to your professional goals and accomplishments.

Choose the Right Course

Next, choose the appropriate first-aider course based on your needs and interests. Various courses are available, catering to different proficiency levels and specific focus areas. Some common courses include Basic First Aid, CPR and AED (Automated External Defibrillator) Training, Wilderness First Aid, or Mental Health First Aid. 

Attend Training Sessions

Once you have selected a course, attend the training sessions with dedication and enthusiasm. Qualified instructors conduct these sessions by providing —

  • theoretical knowledge, 
  • practical demonstrations, 
  • and hands-on training. 

Pay close attention to the techniques and procedures being taught, as they will form the foundation of your first aid skills.

Practice and Apply Skills

Practice regularly to reinforce your skills. Engage in simulated scenarios, role-playing exercises, or practical drills to enhance your ability to respond effectively in real-life situations.

Obtain Certification

Upon successful completion of the first aid course, you will receive a certification or qualification. This document serves as evidence of your training and competence as a first aider. Ensure it’s recognised and valid in your region or industry.

Continual Learning and Professional Development

Continually expand your knowledge and skills through ongoing learning and professional development. Attend refresher courses, workshops, or seminars to stay updated with the latest practices and guidelines.

Close-up of group of diverse people in CPR training class

To be an effective first aider, it is vital to possess a range of essential skills that can make a significant difference in emergency situations. Let’s explore these skills in more detail:

Developing Key First Aid Skills

CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation)

A life-saving technique involving chest compressions and rescue breaths to revive a person in cardiac arrest.

AED (Automated External Defibrillator) Usage

Operating portable devices to deliver electric shocks and restore normal heart rhythm during sudden cardiac arrest.

Choking Management

Techniques to assess and dislodge airway obstructions, such as the Heimlich manoeuvre for adults and children and back blows for infants.

Bleeding Control

Skills to assess and manage different types of bleeding, including applying direct pressure, elevating limbs, and using dressings or tourniquets when necessary.

Responsibilities of a First Aider

As a first aider, understanding your responsibilities is essential for providing effective care in emergency situations. This section will discuss the core duties and responsibilities, including

Assessing the Scene

Learn how to quickly assess the scene to confirm your safety and the safety of others. Identify potential hazards, evaluate the situation, and take necessary precautions before providing first aid.

Prioritising Care

Understand the importance of prioritising care based on the severity of injuries or conditions. Learn how to —

  • quickly triage patients, 
  • identify life-threatening conditions, 
  • and provide immediate care to those in critical need.

Providing Appropriate First Aid Treatments

Gain knowledge of the appropriate first aid treatments for common injuries, illnesses, or emergencies. This may include —

  • administering medications, 
  • applying bandages or splints, 
  • or managing respiratory distress.

Effective Communication

Develop effective communication skills to interact with the injured person, bystanders, and emergency medical services. Communicate clearly and calmly to gather necessary information and provide reassurance to those in distress.

Knowing When to Seek Professional Medical Help

Recognise the limits of your training and know when to seek professional medical help. Understand the signs and symptoms that indicate the need for advanced medical care and communicate this information promptly to emergency services.

Cartoonish illustration of first aider representing medication to patient

When are First Aiders Allowed to Give Medication?

In general, first-aiders are not allowed to give medication. However, there are a few exceptions:

Aspirin for Suspected Heart Attack

First-aiders may administer aspirin to a casualty with a suspected heart attack, following currently accepted first-aid practice. This is the only medication that is typically allowed to be given by first aiders in such circumstances.

Self-Administration of Prescribed Medication

First aiders can assist individuals in taking their own prescribed medication, like an asthma inhaler.

Injectable Medicines and Adrenaline

Medicines legislation restricts the application of injectable medicines, and they should only be administered by or in accordance with the instructions of a doctor or nurse. However, there is an exemption for adrenaline. In emergencies, a layperson, including a first aider, may administer adrenaline by injection for the purpose of saving a life.

Epipen for Anaphylactic Shock

First-aiders trained to use an EpiPen can administer it to someone with a prescribed Epipen during a life-threatening anaphylactic shock.

Remember that these regulations and guidelines may vary depending on the industry or setting. It is important for first aiders to prioritise immediate care, stabilisation, and seeking professional medical assistance. If medication is needed, it is best to involve trained healthcare professionals who are authorised to administer medication according to the applicable regulations and guidelines.

How Many First Aiders Do I Need at a Workplace?

In the UK, the Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981 provide guidelines on the number of first-aiders required in the workplace. The specific requirements depend on the size of the workforce and the level of risk associated with the work activities. Here is a general overview of the guidelines:

Low-Hazard Workplaces (e.g., Offices, Shops, Libraries)

Number of EmployeesFirst-Aiders or Appointed Persons
Fewer than 25At least one appointed person
25 to 50At least one EFAW-trained first-aider
More than 50At least one FAW-trained first-aider for every 100 employed (or part thereof)

Higher-Hazard Workplaces (e.g., Light Engineering, Food Processing, Construction)

Number of EmployeesFirst-Aiders or Appointed Persons
Fewer than 5At least one appointed person
5 to 50At least one EFAW-trained or FAW-trained first-aider (depending on the type of injuries that might occur)
More than 50At least one FAW-trained first-aider for every 50 employed (or part thereof)

Wrapping Up

Remember, being a first aider is not just about the skills you learn in a first aider course but also the compassion, courage, and quick thinking that you bring to every situation. So, embrace the opportunity to become a first aider and be prepared to be the helping hand that can save lives and make a lasting impact.



Who can be a first aider?

Anyone, regardless of their background or profession, can become a first aider by undergoing training and certification to learn the necessary skills.

How long is the first aid training certificate valid?

First-aider certificates are typically valid for three (3) years from the date they are issued, and they need to be renewed after that period to ensure ongoing competency in providing first aid.

How long is the trained first aider training course?

The trained first aider training course typically spans around 3 to 18 hours, depending on the specific program and training requirements.

What does a mental health first aider do?

A mental health first aider provides initial support and assistance to people experiencing mental health challenges, promoting well-being and facilitating access to professional help if needed.

Can I refuse to be a first aider at work?

While you have the option to refuse to be a first aider at work, it’s crucial to weigh the potential consequences for workplace safety and the welfare of your coworkers.

What are the 3 primary duties of a first aider?

The three primary duties of a first aider involve assessing the situation, providing appropriate assistance, and promptly seeking professional help when needed. 

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Ricky Kambray

Hey this is Ricky Kambray an award-winning first-aid trainer with over 20 years of healthcare and teaching expertise. Highly certified general nurse regularly appears in the press discussing accident prevention and first aid advice.