Who is a First Responder In Emergency?

A First Responder In Emergency Image

 A first responder in emergency is  somebody with specialized training whose work is to assist at the scene of an accident or emergency. First response in emergency is the immediate treatment or care given to someone suffering from an injury or illness until more advanced care is accessed.

A first responder can either be a law enforcement officer, a paramedic,  an Emergency Medical Technician, a fire fighter or a Public Health Professional. On the other hand , a first responder in emergency can also be an ordinary person who has undergone the necessary training that qualifies him or her as one.

Also read: The Role of First Responders at Emergency Scene

In this article, I will highlight who a first responder in emergency is, how to become a first responder and the need for first responders in our society.

Does this sound interesting to you?. Lets get started.

Contents

5 Steps to Becoming A Certified First Responder in Emergency

Law enforcement officer undergoing a first responder training
A Law Enforcement Officer undergoing a first responder training

To become a first responder in emergency, you will have to take the following necessary steps below;

  • Must have a minimum of O’level certification.
  • Undergo the Required  Training. To get a detailed information about the training, visit this site www.hei.org.ng
  • Ensure you take the compulsory tests.
  • Obtain Your First Responder Certification.
  • Broaden Your Knowledge on First Response.

The need for First Responders in Emergency

All around the world, acutely ill and injured people seek care every day.  Frontline providers manage children and adults with injuries and infections, heart attacks and strokes, asthma, and acute complications of pregnancy. An integrated approach to early recognition and management reduces the impact of all these conditions. Emergency care could address over half of the deaths in developing countries.

In Nigeria, there has not been a structured, coordinated and substantial effort to sensitize and mobilize the general public in emergency services. This lack of structure for an effective pre-hospital care system has led to avoidable deaths, Over 38,210 from road traffic crashes alone in 2018 according to WHO. This number is expected to grow exponentially without the right system and structures. Beyond traffic crashes, many people, for which formal data is currently unavailable locally, die because of cardiovascular diseases and domestic accidents.

A recent survey done in one of the cities with government-owned Emergency Medical Services showed that the majority of the public do not know what to do in cases of an emergency, the emergency numbers to call, what information to relay and actions they can take to sustain a patient’s life. Therefore, in countries like Nigeria where emergency services are not fully functional or, in some extreme cases, non-existent, it is imperative to equip its citizens especially the youths with the knowledge of how to manage daily emergencies and disasters effectively.

According to Premium Times Nigeria report, The Federal Road Safety Corps recorded 3,947 road crashes and 1,758 deaths in the First Quarter of 2020. The 3, 947 number of Road Traffic Crash recorded in the first quarter of 2020 involved 6,448 vehicles out of this number, 1,758 died while 11, 250 were injured. The number of deaths could be drastically reduced if the first responders to the scene have the capacity to manage the victims. There is also an astronomical rise in the incidence of Heart Attack and Cardiac Arrest among Nigerians in the last five years. Chances of survival of victims could be enhanced if bystanders are First Responders with CPR and AED skills especially if administered within the first 10 minutes of occurrence.

Road Traffic Accident has been identified as the biggest killer of young people in Nigeria according to WHO 2018 report. With over 70% of Nigeria’s population below 35years, the youths (students) are the most exposed segment to this scourge. Sadly, our educational curriculum from Primary to Tertiary levels does not incorporate these critical skills. Also, in recent years, there has been upsurge of Cardiovascular Diseases (health attack, cardiac arrest and stroke) even among young people in Nigeria. The usual response of most Nigerians is to pour water on the slumped victim or take pictures/videos and post on social media.

Without a trained first responder in at the scene of any emergency and manning the transportation of a victim from the accident scene to the hospital, lives would be lost. Most of the personnel of emergency agencies trained by us disclosed that many victims of emergencies died under their watch due to knowledge gap in handling pre-hospital care. It is unfortunate to note that more than 40% of deaths in Nigeria are associated to gaps in prehospital care due to absence of requisite skills. Bridging this gap is therefore very important in saving many lives.

The World Health Organization (WHO) in 2016 revealed that in Nigeria, non-communicable disease was
estimated to account for 29% of all deaths of which Cardiovascular Diseases(CVDs) contributed 11%. CVDs that have been found to be on the increase over the past 20 years in Nigeria include hypertension, heart attack, Cardiac Arrest and Stroke. In developing countries like Nigeria, where emergency services are minimal it  is imperative to equip its citizens on how to manage daily emergencies and disasters in an organized way and also provide good quality emergency medical care. The status of Emergency services in Nigeria reflects many attempts by both state governments and private organizations, all of which lacked First Responders, paramedics or any special pre-hospital training.

The Objectives of having First Responders is :

  • To equip/train members of the public with first responder’s lifesaving skills in Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and the use of Automated External Defibrillator they need to attend to various emergencies in the first few critical minutes otherwise known as Golden Hours.
  • To improve the chances of survival and recovery for victims.
  • To spur emergency onlookers with a call to action of saving lives other than recording emergency
    scenes.
  • Set up First Responder’s club driven by Certified Responders in Secondary and Tertiary institutions with the aim of fostering a lifesaving culture.

Roles of a First Responder in Emergency

  • Stabilize a patient/victim until more highly skilled crew arrives to take over the patient; this seeks to curb the practice of snapping pictures to post on social media.
  • Keep crowd away in a coordinated manner from the scene.
  • Provide psychological support to patient prior to arrival of the emergency crew.
  • Inform emergency crews on phone and stay on the line providing assistance where required.
  • Ensure safety of victims prior to the arrival of the emergency crews.
  • Document, record and inform ambulance crews of the vital information given by the victim(s).
  • Willingness to assist the emergency agencies in large scale accidents/incidents when called upon by the emergency agencies.
  • Assess causalities and find out the nature and cause of their injuries.
  • Provide appropriate first aid treatment as trained.
  • If possible, make notes/observation of causalities.
  • Provide a handover when further medical help arrives

Get trained today and be a lifesaver with your skills. If you think this article was helpful, leave us a comment below.

Author Profile

Dr Austine
Dr Austine
Dr. Austin is a professionally trained doctor with 7 years of medical experience. He works at ..... and he also a contributor to firstresponsetips

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