First Responder (FR)

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Other Vocational Titles
Ambulance Responder, Combat First Aider (Australian Army), Community Responder, Primary Care, Defence First Aider & Combat Life Saver (New Zealand Defence Force)

Definition
A first responder (FR) is an individual who has completed accredited training in advanced first aid and emergency scene management and responds to emergency situations to provide initial clinical management in the out-of-hospital environment.

Education
Australia: Certificate II in Emergency Medical Service First Response

This level is used in some situations as a midpoint achievement credential for student BLS Medics.

New Zealand: Pre-Hospital Emergency Care Course

Other Requirements
Same as for the Paramedic but appropriate to the FR role e.g., in some contexts may not require a drivers licence.

Operation
FRs attend to patients and provide initial patient management whilst awaiting the arrival of a practitioner who can deliver a higher level of clinical care and/or transport the patient to a health facility or arrange an alternative care pathway.

The FR undertakes primary clinical management in relation to a known range of common clinical situations usually via the implementation of structured protocols.

A FR is engaged by a statutory ambulance service, private paramedic services or a defence force and may operate in a variety of community, rural/remote, industrial, resource sector, defence or event/public gathering settings including disaster response.  Many police officers and fire personnel are trained and operate as FRs.

Typically the FR is deployed as a single operator with a limited range of equipment.  They may or may not be supplied with a first response ambulance vehicle. FR’s in defence forces may operate on foot (or from a vehicle) and without the capability to rapidly access additional clinical support in both peacetime and conflict situations.

Scope of Practice

  • Advanced First Aid
  • Use of infection control practices relevant to clinical environment
  • Use of an automated external defibrillator
  • Emergency management of cardiac arrest
  • Basic airway management
  • Administration of a limited range of medications according to protocol e.g. oxygen therapy, inhaled analgesia and adrenaline via an auto-injector
  • Spinal stabilisation
  • Basic emergency triage