First Aid

What are The Responsibilities of a First Aider

Ricky Kambray
Ricky Kambray

Picture this: You’re at a local park enjoying a beautiful sunny day when suddenly you hear a cry for help. You rush over to that person lying on the ground, clutching his chest in obvious distress. In that critical moment, a first aider steps forward, taking charge of the situation with confidence and skill.

He assesses the person’s condition, provides life-saving CPR, and calls for emergency medical assistance. This is just one example of the responsibilities of a first aider in times of crisis.

In this blog, we will explore the practical and impactful responsibilities of a first aider, uncovering the essential skills and knowledge they possess to handle emergencies and provide vital care when it matters most.

Let’s dive into the world of first aid and uncover the remarkable role of those who step up to be first aiders in our communities.

Besides, explore the essence of first aid and gain a comprehensive understanding of its purpose through our latest blog post, “What is the Aim of First Aid? – An Overview.

Close-up of toy ambulance and paramedics helping a patient.

Responsibilities of a First Aider

First aiders come in different types, each with specific responsibilities and expertise to provide effective assistance in various situations. Let’s delve into the different types of first aiders and explore their individual roles:

Basic First Aider

A basic first aider is someone who has completed a basic first aid training course. Let’s delve into the responsibilities of a basic first aider in a more detailed way.

Assessing the Situation

  • Quickly evaluate the scene for any potential dangers or hazards.
  • Determine the number of casualties and prioritise their treatment based on the severity of their injuries.
  • Gather necessary information about the incident, such as the cause of the injury or any known medical conditions of the casualty.

Protecting Yourself and Them From Any Danger

  • Your safety comes first, so ensure that you are not putting yourself at risk while providing first aid.
  • If it’s necessary to move the injured person, do so only if leaving them in their current position would cause them further harm.
  • If you are unable to make the area safe or the situation requires immediate medical attention, call emergency services at 999 (in the UK) or 112 (worldwide) for professional assistance.

Preventing Infection

  1. Clean your hands well with water and soap, or use alcohol-based hand sanitiser.
  2. Wear latex-free disposable gloves when dealing with open wounds or bodily fluids.
  3. Avoid breathing, coughing, or sneezing over the wound or the casualty.

Providing Immediate Care for Injuries

  1. First, provide comfort and reassurance to the victim.
  2. Apply appropriate first aid techniques to manage common injuries like cuts, burns, sprains, and bruises.
  3. Control bleeding by applying direct pressure or using a bandage.
  4. Administer basic wound care by cleaning and dressing wounds to prevent infection.
  5. Stabilise fractures or suspected bone injuries using improvised splints or support techniques.

Recognising and Responding to Medical Emergencies

Identify signs and symptoms of common medical emergencies, such as heart attacks, strokes, or allergic reactions.
Perform CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) if the casualty is unresponsive and not breathing.
Assist with the administration of essential medications, such as epinephrine auto-injectors, for severe allergic reactions.

Master the power of ABC in first aid. Explore our insightful blog to understand why this acronym is a critical tool in emergency situations and learn how it can make a life-saving difference in providing immediate care.

Knowing When to Escalate the Situation

  • Realise the limits of their skills and knowledge, and understand when to seek professional medical help.
  • Call emergency services or arrange for transportation to a medical facility when the situation requires advanced medical intervention.
  • Communicate effectively with medical professionals, providing them with accurate and concise information about the incident and the casualty’s condition.

Close-up of first aider helping a construction worker at construction site.

Workplace First Aider

Based on the Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981, employers have a legal duty to ensure that they provide adequate first aid equipment, facilities, and trained first aiders to promptly respond to any injuries or illnesses that may occur in the workplace.

Workplace first aiders are individuals designated to provide first aid support in their workplace. Their responsibilities go beyond basic first aid.

Providing Immediate First Aid Response

  • Assess and respond to various ranges of injuries and illnesses that can happen in the work zone, such as cuts, burns, fractures, sprains, chemical exposures, or heat-related illnesses.
  • Administer appropriate first aid techniques and treatments measuring the seriousness of the illness or injury.
  • Ensure the casualty’s safety and comfort while awaiting professional medical assistance.

Managing Workplace-Specific Injuries and Hazards

  • Possess knowledge of workplace-specific risks, hazards, and safety protocols.
  • Apply first aid procedures tailored to the unique needs and challenges of the work environment, such as managing chemical exposures, electrical injuries, or machinery-related incidents.
  • Deliver guidance on the proper use of Personal Protective Equipment or PPE and other safety measures to prevent further injuries.

Performing CPR and using AEDs

  • Be trained in CPR techniques, including chest compressions and rescue breaths, to respond effectively to cardiac arrest situations.
  • Understand the use of AEDs and be able to assess when their use is necessary for restoring normal heart rhythms.

Assisting in Workplace Emergency Response

  1. Contribute to the development and implementation of workplace emergency response plans.
  2. Coordinate and provide an initial response during workplace emergencies, such as fires, chemical spills, or natural disasters.
  3. Communicate effectively with emergency services, ensuring accurate and timely information is provided.

Close-up of first aiders putting injured girls onto a Backboard.

Advanced First Aider

Advanced first aiders have received additional training and certification, enabling them to handle more complex medical situations.

Specialised Equipment

Utilise specialised medical equipment like automated external defibrillators (AEDs) and advanced monitoring devices.

Advanced Medical Techniques

Perform advanced medical procedures and techniques, such as administering medications and using specialised airway management methods.

Advanced Wound Care

Provide complex wound care, including suturing, dressing complex wounds, and managing severe bleeding.

Emergency Management

Manage medical emergencies, assess the situation and make critical decisions in high-pressure situations.

Communication and Documentation

Effectively communicate with emergency medical services and maintain accurate documentation of patient care.

Mental Health First Aider

Mental health first aiders play a vital role in —

  • Recognising signs of mental health issues,
  • Offering non-judgmental support,
  • And guiding individuals towards appropriate resources and professional help.

They promote mental health awareness, create a supportive environment, and contribute to overall well-being within their communities.

Duty of Care First Aider

First aid cover is essential in environments where a duty of care is present, including both formal and informal settings such as —

  • community clubs,
  • social events,
  • and sports activities.

In these situations, first aiders bear the same responsibility as in a workplace setting to provide immediate care and ensure the well-being of individuals.

Wilderness First Aider

Wilderness first aiders are trained to handle medical emergencies in remote or outdoor settings where professional medical help may be far away. Their responsibilities include assessing and treating injuries and illnesses that can occur in wilderness environments, such as fractures, hypothermia, and animal bites.

Paediatric First Aider

Paediatric first aiders specialise in providing first aid to infants, children, and adolescents. Their responsibilities include —

  • Recognising and responding to common childhood injuries and illnesses,
  • Managing choking emergencies,
  • And administering age-appropriate CPR.

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Close-up of first aider doing CPR training on a dummy.

Qualities of a Good First Aider

A good first aider possesses a range of qualities that enable them to effectively respond to emergencies and provide vital care to those in need. Some key qualities include —

  1. Ability to effectively communicate with the injured person and emergency services.
  2. Reacting quickly and remaining calm in various emergency situations.
  3. Taking the lead, acting quickly, and making sound judgments.
  4. Working effectively with the emergency services and collaborating with others.
  5. Maintaining a positive outlook to reassure the injured person and sustain mental resilience.

Wrapping Up

To sum up, the roles and responsibilities of a first aider are crucial in providing immediate care, comfort, and support to those in need. By possessing the right skills, qualities, and knowledge, a first aider plays a vital role in making a positive difference in emergency situations and contributing to the well-being and safety of individuals.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the three main responsibilities of a first aider?

The three main responsibilities or duties of a first aider are providing immediate care, offering reassurance, and knowing when to seek professional help.

How many first aiders do I need?

For workplaces with 25 employees, the minimum legal requirement is one appointed person. If the workforce exceeds 50 employees, the guidance states that one first aider is needed for every 100 employees. Therefore, if you have 101 employees, you would require at least two first aiders.

When are first aiders allowed to give medication?

First aiders are generally not authorised to administer medication for the illness. However, in the case of a suspected heart attack, they may use aspirin as part of first aid treatment, following established guidelines.

Can I refuse to be a first aider at work?

Yes. You possess the right to refuse to be a first aider at work if you do not wish to take on that responsibility. It is important to deliver your decision to your employer and ensure that there are alternative arrangements in place for first aid coverage.

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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.