What are the Responsibilities of a First Aider?

August 23, 2017
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First Aid refers to the help that a sick or injured person receives until full medical treatment is available. Being able to perform first aid is a simple skill that can have an incredibly positive impact – from providing a casualty with reassurance to saving their life. It encompasses a wide range of help, from simply applying a plaster on a cut to performing CPR.

All companies and places of work must have a first aider, although the number of first aiders required depends on the number of employees.

If you are considering training to become a first aider, this article will offer some information about the role, highlight some of the responsibilities of a first aider, and explain the desirable qualities of a good first aider.

Responsibilities of a First Aider

practicing first aid

As previously established, first aid is the immediate help that is given to someone who is either injured or sick before help from a medical professional is available. The role of a first aider is to give this help, whilst ensuring that they and anyone else involved is safe.

Being a first aider, therefore, carries a range of different and incredibly important responsibilities. If you are a trained first aider and you think someone needs your help, there are numerous responsibilities that you should adhere to.

St John Ambulance outline seven responsibilities of a first aider:

  1. Assess the situation quickly and calmly to get an understanding of what happened. This involves determining whether anyone is in danger, the cause of the situation, and how many people are affected.
  2. Comfort, reassure, stay calm and take charge. You should introduce yourself to the casualty, explain what’s happening and why, and explain what you’re going to do before you do it.
  3. Protect yourself and the casualty from any danger. You should always protect yourself first and only move the casualty if leaving them would cause more harm. If you are unable to make an area safe, call 999 for emergency help.
  4. Prevent infection between you and them. You should wash your hands or use hand sanitiser, wear disposable gloves, and not cough or sneeze over a casualty.
  5. Assess the casualty. If there are multiple casualties, you must help those with life-threatening injuries or conditions first.
  6. Give first aid treatment, such as CPR or applying pressure to bleeding wounds. Life-threatening injuries and conditions must be prioritised before giving treatment to less serious cases.
  7. Arrange for the right kind of help. Call 999 for an ambulance if it’s serious, or take/send them to a hospital if it’s serious but unlikely to get any worse. For less serious conditions, suggest they see a doctor if they are concerned or if the condition worsens. You should always stay with them until you can leave them in the right care.
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Qualities of a Good First Aider

There are a whole range of skills that are beneficial for a first aider to have in order to deal with situations in the best way possible. Some qualities of a good first aider are:

Communication Skills

If you are able to communicate effectively with the injured person, they will be much more likely to trust you and feel reassured. You will calm their sense of panic and make the situation a lot easier for you both. Having strong communication skills is also advantageous should you have to relay important information to the emergency services.

The Ability to Work Under Pressure

The demands of a first aider can range anywhere from something simple, like a cut finger, to something a lot more serious, like a cardiac arrest. As a first aider you must be prepared for all possibilities, and know how to react quickly to the situation.  You must keep calm – panicking will only make the situation worse – and be able to work effectively under pressure.

responsibilities of a first aider

Initiative and Leadership

In an emergency, time can often play a crucial part in the outcome. Being able to act quickly, take the lead, use your initiative and trust your judgement are all vital skills.

The Ability to Work in a Team

As well as being able to lead, it is important that you can work effectively in a team. You may have to work alongside the emergency services, and being able to co-operate with them is vital.


Someone who always sees the glass as half full rather than half empty is a prime candidate for a first aider. Positivity will help you to reassure the injured person and prevent yourself from quickly becoming mentally drained while on the job.

This list is in no way exhaustive, but it is always beneficial to consider these personal qualities alongside technical ability.

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