Discover your career path

First Responder

Be the first on the scene to assist emergency victims.

What does a First Responder do?

A First Responder is the first person on the scene of an emergency. When something tragic happens — for instance, a car accident, heart attack, or assault — injured victims often find themselves teetering between life and death. With only moments to spare between this life and the next, they need help fast. First Responders provide this help by administering advanced first aid and basic medical care until more advanced emergency providers can arrive.

Although anyone who’s first on the scene is technically a “First Responder,” professionals (versus bystanders) are known as Certified First Responders, as they’ve been formally trained to deliver emergency medical care prior to the arrival of an ambulance. If you’re one of these trained professionals, you could be a part-time volunteer who works for a volunteer EMS service.

More likely, however, you have another full-time paid profession, and you received your Certified First Responder training through your employment because you respond to emergencies as part of your job. Typically, for instance, you’re a Police Officer, Firefighter, Paramedic, or Emergency Medical Technician, although you could also be a Park Ranger, Taxi Driver, Teacher, Flight Attendant, or Lifeguard — anyone who’s likely to be nearby in common emergency settings and situations.

Whatever your career, your job as a First Responder involves answering calls from Dispatchers, then arriving at and assessing emergency situations. You then provide basic emergency care — for example, checking vitals, giving CPR, stabilizing injured extremities, bandaging wounds, controlling hemorrhaging, and even assisting in childbirth — until Paramedics arrive, saving lives with your quick feet and quick thinking.