First Aider vs First Responder

First Aider vs First Responder

First Aider Vs First Responder:

In this blog post we will explore what the differences are between a First Responder and a First Aider and why sometimes we insist on providing a more highly qualified member of staff?

We understand a lot of our event clients have to run to a budget to meet project profits, we are all businesses in this game, and part of that is often finding the cheapest level of medical cover to meet minimum H&S requirements. Its why very often we get asked to provide a multitude of our most basic staffing level, First Aiders, a way of getting sufficient cover. Although our First Aiders are often also operational Non-Emergency Ambulance crews during the week and have a wealth of experience beyond that of your standard workplace first aider, we do sometimes suggest that upgrading to the higher, First Responder level staff is much more appropriate for some events clients. So what is the difference?

At a glance…

First Aiders:

- Are qualified to a minimum of a Level 3 in First Aid at Work (3 Day) with use of an AED & Epi Pen (or Equivalent)

- Our First Aiders all go through company induction and mandatory training to prepare them to work in the ambulance service at Ambulance Care Assistant level and at Events.

- Can deal at a basic level with the majority of emergency situations before additional help arrives, also recognising when additional help is needed.

- Can effectively deal with minor injuries, and at a basic level can manage more serious problems.

- Understand basic emergency medical conditions and how to manage them.


First Responders, as a First Aider but:

- Are qualified to a minimum of Level 3 in First Response Emergency Care, or First Person on Scene Intermediate (or equivalent) (5 Days).

- Competent to administer emergency medical gasses (Oxygen and Entonox (Pain Relief))

- Can undertake more involved patient assessment.

- Can use a wider array of ambulance and medical equipment to manage traumatic injuries and patient handling.

- Is sufficiently medically qualified to work on their own, e.g. as a Cycle Response Unit if needed.

- Has a more in-depth awareness of medical conditions, and can manage patents at a slightly more advanced level.

- Are the same medical qualification as our Emergency Care Assistants, who crew our emergency ambulances alongside a senior clinician.

- Better suited to assist Ambulance Technicians or Paramedics in Emergency Situations.


For some events we will insist on sending a First Responder (or a higher skill level) over a First Aider depending on our assessment of the risks posed at the event. We encourage our event clients to seriously consider having First Responders over First Aiders to make sure event participants have a much better level of emergency medical care available to them, and in some cases may reduce the amount of additional staff or resources needed to treat a patient. If our staff are lone working we will generally insist it has to be at least to First Responder level, so that a patient can receive more effective treatment autonomously, until help arrives. Although it might seem like it, we are not just saying this to upsell more of our service, we genuinely have patient care at the forefront of service and as much as we only provide to clients what they really need, we also need to make sure our service is acting appropriately and responsibly

Disclaimer, this post is based on the skills set by the GB-EMS Group which are often similarly structured across the ambulance industry for Fist Aiders and First Responders, however titles and skill sets may vary from service to service.

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