What Are the Duties of a First Aider?

band-aid image by Rick Sargeant from Fotolia.com

First aiders are specially trained individuals whose first job is to ascertain the condition of an injured person and to keep that patient stable until help arrives.

These duties may include stopping bleeding, splinting fractures or performing advanced life saving techniques such as rescue breathing, the Heimlich Maneuver, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR. First aiders must be able to perform these duties while making sure that advanced care personnel is summoned.

Look, Listen and Feel

The primary duty of a first aider is to ascertain the level of injury someone has sustained. To accomplish this, they must be able to employ advanced problem solving skills to evaluate the current surroundings in conjunction with the physical symptoms of the patient and begin performing a variety of diagnostic techniques in order to determine the next steps for proper treatment.


First aiders must apply direct pressure to any open and bleeding wounds wherever possible in an attempt to stanch the flow of blood and prevent shock.

Broken Bones and Sprains

First aiders are trained to prepare splints for most broken bones in order to stabilise them to prevent unnecessary pain or additional damage to the affected body part.

Heat Related Illness

First aiders are taught how to properly take the body temperature of individuals that have been affected by a heat related illness and how to properly bring down the victim’s core temperature. These techniques include applying cold water to the victim’s skin and ice on the jugular veins.


First aiders are taught the proper methods for determining whether or not a patient is choking, whether the patient is conscious or not, and how to perform the appropriate techniques to dislodge the blockage as well as provide artificial respiration if the victim stops breathing.

Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)

All first aiders are taught the appropriate methods for administering CPR to a wide range of victims as well as instructed in the proper methods of determining whether or not a victim requires such intervention.

Patient Care

Another duty that is often overlooked is patient care. It is a responsibility of the first aider to provide comfort to the patient while awaiting the ambulance or doctor.