Who is a first aider and their role?


Who is a first aider and their role?

The role of a first aider is to provide immediate, temporary care to someone who is ill or injured. In the case of basic life support procedures, such as CPR, using an AED or putting someone into the recovery position first aid may be live-saving.

This article looked at who a first aider is. Their responsibilities and the qualities of a good first aider.

This work equally looked at some of the things good first aider should do. By the end of this post, you should be able to explain who a first aider is to a layman, list five responsibilities of a first aider, identify eight qualities of a good first aider and mention five activities a good first aider should carry out.


Who is a First Aider?

First aid is the initial assistance, care or treatment given at the site or place of accident or incident to a person who is injured or suddenly taken ill, before the arrival of a doctor or paramedics. The person who provides this type of help is a First Aider. A first aider should be able to assess the situation quickly and calmly and should be able to deal with life threatening conditions at the site of the accident.

First aid is the action taken in response to a person who is injured or taken ill suddenly. A first aider is someone who takes this action while making sure every person involved is save.

A first aider is a person who has been trained to give immediate medical care during an emergency. He/she must have gone through a training programme appropriate to what is needed in their workplace.

The goals of a first aid provider include preserving lives, alleviating suffering, preventing further illness or injury and promoting recovery.

This course will help you provide effective first aid to a casualty in any situation. It is pertinent to note that to become a fully competent first aid provider; you should complete a recognized first aid training programme or a course like this, as it will strengthen your skills and also increase your confidence.


Read on: The First Aider: Qualification, Principles, Scope and Responsibilities

What are the Responsibilities of a First Aider in an Emergency?

First aid is the provision of immediate care given to a casualty with an injury or illness usually provided by a layperson. A first aider gives this immediate help to the casualty at the same time, makes sure that the casualty and everyone around including the first aider are safe.

When injuries are not serious, the first aider can manage them without looking for other help. For instance, minor injuries like cuts, bruises and burns can be taken care of by the first aider. But for serious injuries, the first aider cannot do without further help and the first aider should reassure the casualty while waiting for paramedics to arrive or going to the hospital.

In any emergency, the first aider has the following responsibilities:

1. It is the responsibility of a good first aider to assess casualties and discover the nature and cause of their injuries or illness.

2. It is also the responsibility of the first aider to manage the situation and also to ensure the continuing safety of everyone around (themselves, bystanders and the casualty).

3. It is the responsibility of the first aider to arrange for further medical help or other emergency services to attend to the casualty. The first aider should make an emergency phone call to 112 (worldwide).

4. A trained first aider should priorities casualty treatment based upon medical needs.

5. The first aider should provide appropriate first aid treatment that is reasonable in the circumstances.

6. It is the responsibility of the first aider to make notes and record observations of casualties, monitoring vital signs and sample information.

7. The first aider should provide a handover when further medical help arrives.

8. Fill out any paperwork as required following the incident.


Responsibilities of Employers of Labour in the Workplace

Employers of labour are required by the Health and safety laws and regulations to provide adequate and appropriate first aid equipment, facilities and first aider to enable their employees to be given immediate help if they are injured or taken ill suddenly at work. 

The minimum first-aid provision in any workplace is a well-stocked first aid box/kit and an appointed person (first aider) to take charge of first aid management. Being an appointed first aider in the workplace is a responsibility not to be taken for granted.


Qualities of a Good First Aider

A first aider is expected to be effective and efficient must study his casualties from several aspects. Basic to this requirement is the possession of a good knowledge of elementary human anatomy and physiology; this refers to the human structural design and the body's working or functioning mechanisms.

He must also acquire a good theoretical and practical knowledge of first aid and be able to translate theory into practice with efficiency and precision. The possession of a certificate of efficiency is considered an essential qualification in this respect.

In addition, he should possess the following personal qualities.

1. Good communication: A good first aider should be able to communicate very well with other first aiders and paramedical staff. Communication is the sole key. It is very important for emergency management to fully prepare and also respond promptly. A well-conceived and effectively delivered message can actually save lives, ensure public safety and facilitate response efforts during emergencies.

2. Controlled and calm: A good first aider should not panic. They should not show any panic and be able to perform in front of bystanders and the casualty. The action of the first aider should show confidence that can calm scared people.

3. Intelligent and decisive: The first aider should be able to take an appropriate decision. He or she should decide the course of treatment within seconds. If casualties are more than one, then the first aider must be quick to judge and should give first aid care to the casualty who needs attention the most and quickly.

4. Skilled: A good first aider should have basic medical skills because you are trained to perform these skills under pressure. A first aider should have the right skills to apply in any given situation and even make quick calls when necessary. If the first aider requires help, he should be able to get some persons from the bystanders. The trained first aider should take charge and lead others.

5. Efficient: A good first aider should be able to commence first aid care without the casualty feeling too much pain or without further increasing his or her pain. The first aider cannot afford to waste time when there is a medical emergency. The first aider should attend to as many as possible with available resources before the arrival of paramedics’ staff.

6. Resourceful: Without fail and at all times, the first aid box/kit of the first aider should have the required materials. Peradventure, you do not have a first aid box/kit; you should ensure immediate arrangement or improvise for the right alternatives. A good first aider should be able to make use of those around him or her resourcefully by delegating activities to bystanders.

7. Quick and smooth: A good first aider should be very quick in all their actions once there is a medical emergency. The first aider has to be very quick in his or her response and take charge of the situation immediately, without delay. There should be no room for panic or doubts.

8. Confidence: A good first aider should have faith in themselves and each of their actions before embarking on first aid care of the casualty. The confidence you show while giving first aid care will go a long way to reassure the casualty and the bystanders that you are capable.

9. Team player: A good first aider should be a team player. This is because teamwork is an important and integral part of the successful management of a medical emergency. A first aider should be able to work with other first aid providers to minimize injuries impact and death during emergencies.

10. Reassuring and sympathetic: It is the duty of a good first aider to reassure the casualty that they are there to give him or her first aid care and that more help is on its way. The first aider here should be sympathetic, kind and calm to the casualty cry. The casualty should be told that everything will be okay and that he or she is in safe hands.


Characteristics of a First Alder

A first aider who wishes to do his/her work effectively must possess basic characteristics such as the following:

a. Trained: A worthy and would-be first aider must be adequately trained for a first aid job.

The individual training acquisition would enable the person to handle new cases of sudden illness and accidents. Only trained first aider would not fret in the face of life threatening illness or hazards.

The major focus should be on how to save lives.

b. Skillfulness: A first aider must be very skillful in the application of acceptable principles of handling victims' treatment of hazards and illness. A skilled first aider must be able to use facilities or materials available to him/her at any given time.

c. Calmness: A good first aider must be very calm and tactful. The first aider should not rush in taking decisions and banish assumptions in the handling of sudden illness and injury. He/she should endeavour not to put up actions that could aggravate the victim's condition. Calmness is important to help to give further assurance to the casualty in the face of a threat of life.

d. Coordination: A first aider must be able to coordinate both human beings and materials simultaneously. The aider should promote recovery and transportation of casualty, connect the relations of the victim as soon as possible while efforts to reach out to the police where necessary must be taken. In cases of road accidents, possession of the casualties should be adequately safeguarded from being lost.

e. Empathetic: The aider should show empathy and not sympathy in the process of carrying out the job. He/she should put self in the position of the casualty and have a feeling for the casualty. Through this, the first aider will be able to understand and act promptly within the ambit of training received without endangering life.

f. Confidence: A good and effective first aider must have confidence in handling the casualty's condition. Confidence gives an underlying hope that life and recovery could be promoted. A first aider must believe in his/her own ability and the procedures to be used to help a victim recover quickly and effectively.

g. Safety Orientation: First aider should not forget to protect his own life and others who are not casualties. Accident sites are not playing areas, therefore, signs and makers, cautions, etc must be put in place immediately an accident occurs. For example, when a road accident occurs, adequate safety measures should be put in place. This will help unsuspected drivers not to ramp into sympathisers.


Some First Aid Activities a Good First Aider Should Carry Out

1. The casualty should be approached in a calm and composed manner. Ensure the safety of the casualty by moving or shifting him or her from oncoming vehicles, broken glass, leaking car fluid or any hazardous material.

2. Inform the nearest medical care or police station. It can be through a phone call.

3. Any casualty that has breathing difficulty, damaged airway or is unconscious should be sent to the nearest medical center as soon as possible. These types of casualties should be given the utmost care and greater priority over other casualties.

4. Immobilize the cervical spine by using two wooden blocks on both sides of the neck. This is to support the head and the neck from shaking as it may cause major damage and paralyse the casualty completely.

5. Do not remove the casualty helmet, but wait until he or she gets to the hospital.

6. Bleeding can be stopped when pressure is continuously applied to the open wound with a clean piece of cloth tying the cloth gently around the injured part of the body.

7. Take a proper look at the limbs of the casualty to see if there are fractures, broken bones or other damage. If there are fractures or broken limbs, ensure they are secure by tying a small stick to either side of the limb with a cloth.

8. Loosen any tight clothing, if the casualty is in shock or is pale. Wrap a blanket or towel around him or her. Rest the legs on a raised platform or even on your knees.

9. Make sure that the casualty has a pulse until he or she gets to the nearest hospital. It is the moral responsibility of every good citizen to offer help and rescue casualties of any accident or disaster.

Read on: Sports Injuries: Most Common Causes of Sports Injuries

Conclusion on who is a first aider and their role?

First aid is typically medical attention that is administered to casualty after injury or illness occurs. It usually involves a one time, short-time treatment. It includes cleaning minor cuts, applying bandages, treating minor burns and using over the counter (OTC) drugs where necessary.

In this article you have learnt the following: Meaning of first aid, who is a first aider, Responsibilities of a first aider and Qualities of a good first aider.

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