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  • What is the role of a “first responder"

    What is a first responder certifcation? And would I be better off with EMT-B?
    “The more you sweat in practice the less you bleed in battle"

  • #2
    A certified first responder is a person who has completed a course and received certification in providing pre-hospital care for medical emergencies. They have more skill than someone who is trained in basic first aid but they are not a substitute for advanced medical care rendered by emergency medical technicians, emergency physicians, nurses, or paramedics. The term "certified first responder" is not to be confused with "first responder", which is a generic term referring to the first medically trained responder to arrive on scene (police, fire, EMS).


    And I just finished my first responder and i wish i would have just skipped it and went into EMT, like im taking now. I wouldnt say it was a waste of time i learned alot. i just get to do it all over again.
    Fire scenes: A well organized cluster F......
    These are my veiws and opinions.....Im just saying

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    • #3
      In my neck of the woods a 'first responder cert' means that you are trained in several areas. CPR, defib, c-spine, O2 and how to identify\treat most forms of trauma.

      It's most of what you'd learn to get your EMT cert.

      I can see how getting your EMT cert would be redundant.
      My wise and profound comments and opinions are mine alone and are in no way associated with any other individual or group.

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      • #4
        CFR is a 60 hour first aid provider course With CPR AED, bandaging & splinting and learning how to stop immediate life threats such as bleeding or not breathing.

        EMT Basic is 150 hour course that expands on everything you get in CFR. and includes some clinical time in the field and at the ER.

        To work on an ambulance requires a minimum of EMTB license in most states.

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        • #5
          Those who have already posted are correct, but I will add a few things.

          Just like the name, a First Responder may often be the first person with any medical training on a scene. Most states require that police and firefighters be trained as first responders or higher. The first responder training gives them the tools to recognize an emergency, take steps to stabilize the incident and begin treatment of a patient before emergency medical technicians arrive.

          Most first responder and EMT basic courses are similar in content, but the EMTs are trained with additional knowledge of a few drugs, basic airways and suctioning. EMTs are generally held to a higher standard for the common skills that they share with first responders. They are also required to take and pass state or national written and practical exams, do continuing education and re-certify every few years. First responders will have to re-certify every few years as well, but no continuing education classes or big state/national exams at the initial certification.

          To clarify my statement above, while EMTs are generally held to a higher standard for the skills they share in common with first responders, that doesn't mean that an experienced first responder could not have as good or even better skills than an EMT, it is just the minimum requirements of the certifications.
          Last edited by KB1OEV; 12-25-2010, 09:29 AM.

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          • #6
            CFR provides a base level of certified training for those who may not need the whole EMT shot (or higher). As noted, the hours required to achieve it are much less than even EMT-D.

            At one time in NY (IIRC), it was a one time course - no refreshers needed.

            As the level of care provided by various agencies has risen, the call for CFR has diminished somewhat, but they still have a role to play.

            A small/low call volume non-transporting agency with adequate ALS/transport support might do just fine with CFR.

            If one has the time, I'd suggest going straight to EMT-D.

            As a side note, "first responder" has broader connotations than just EMS - it can refer to anyone who is first to respond to virtually any type of incident.
            Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

            Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

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            • #7
              here in maine a first responder cert. is 2/3 the time and energy of that of an EMT -B cert. If you are interested in Ems then Emt-b is the way to go.You end up putting in more time and effort but there are more skills you can perform and offer more assistance to those in need.

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              • #8
                Pretty much what these guys said is right on the head. However here in Vermont we realized quickly that taking First Responder and then your EMT-B was pretty redundant and if anything uneeded. So as far as I know the state has gotten rid of the First Responder certification all together, and new comers to the pre-hospital setting go straight into EMT-B.
                Opinions expressed by myself here are just that, mine. And not that of ANY organization or service I am affiliated with.

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                • #9
                  For Wisconsin:

                  CFR is in my mind EMT Lite-You get the hands on skills of CPR, DeFib, Spinal immobilization, fracture stabilization, bandaging, air way management and so on.

                  EMT-B adds on Epi, albuterol, baby aspirin for heart attacks, glucagon, and the ability to assist with the patients nitroglycerin.

                  To me CFR is fine for fire departments that don't transport. Unless you are rural with long delays in transport, then I think EMT-B or even EMT-I may be better.
                  Crazy, but that's how it goes
                  Millions of people living as foes
                  Maybe it's not too late
                  To learn how to love, and forget how to hate

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                  • #10
                    It depends upon your circumstances

                    Our department has a number of officers/fire fighters that are also paid FF on one or more local departments or also work for the county ambulance service. I'm personally a CFR and that is sufficient for me. I've very rarely been on a med call that at least one other EMT or Paramedic FF wasn't also on scene and it's very rare that we are waiting longer than five minutes for ambulance to get on scene (all ambulances in our area are ALS).

                    For me and others, CFR is fine. If we didn't have our outstanding county ambulance service and had to transport ourselves, I'm sure we'd end up sending everybody who wanted it to EMT school. Another requirement of the paid departments around here is that all FF also be EMTs, so our folks that are wanting to pursue a career go for EMT.

                    What's the custom for the other folks on your department?

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                    • #11
                      do your EMT-B.. in nys if you take cfr you cant do as much work as if you were an emt-b. im currently taking my emt-b then going to college for fire protection.

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                      • #12
                        There's kind of a hierarchy here in TN and here's how I understand it.

                        Right now I'm a firefighter. I can respond to fires, and Accident with injury calls, but only for fire suppression and traffic control basically. I could take part in an extrication but not in a direct patient contact/monitoring function.

                        Next month I'll be getting my First Aid/CPR/AED certification. At that point I would also be able to respond to not breathing/cardiac arrest calls but no other medical calls.

                        Eventually I will get my first responder certificate. At that point I'll be able to respond to all medical calls for the department. That could include any EMS call. I will be limited in what I can do on those calls. You can provide most immediate life saving treatment like CPR, Airway Management, C-Spine, Splints, Oxygen, suction and AED as well as packaging and preparing the patient for transport, but no IV's or meds.

                        It would not matter if I got my EMT-B because our department does not act as a sponsoring agency and the local EMS will not act as a sponsoring agency for firefighters so we even if I got certified I could not operate at the EMT level.

                        So to my knowledge the difference would be the IV's, Meds and a higher level of competence expected all around for EMT but since I don't intend on becoming an EMT as a career there would be no real purpose to me getting that certification.

                        You should probably check with your officers or some one who is a certified first responder in your department to see how it works there.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by EGregory View Post
                          There's kind of a hierarchy here in TN and here's how I understand it.
                          Interesting. According to the Tennesee EMS website, TN doesn't have a basic EMT as such. CFR, then "EMT IV", which I believe would generally be called an "intermediate" or "advanced" elsewhere. After that it's paramedic.

                          So you're right - it wouldn't do you any good to progress beyond CFR unless your FD is an ALS provider or you went to work (or volunteered) for an agency that was.

                          New York has several levels. CFR, EMT-D (same as EMT-B, but with AED), AEMT-Intermediate (can do IVs), AEMT-Critical Care (ALS), and Paramedic.

                          EMT-D's can be upgraded to give certain meds, and AEMT-I can shock with a manual defribillator. The I's are a dying breed. Most folks with an I card are on their way to a higher level.

                          My FD is BLS only, but I am an AEMT-CC. I run with an ALS ambulance agency as well and can practice at the ALS level there. At the FD, it's BLS only.
                          Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

                          Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by EGregory View Post
                            There's kind of a hierarchy here in TN and here's how I understand it.

                            Right now I'm a firefighter. I can respond to fires, and Accident with injury calls, but only for fire suppression and traffic control basically. I could take part in an extrication but not in a direct patient contact/monitoring function.

                            Next month I'll be getting my First Aid/CPR/AED certification. At that point I would also be able to respond to not breathing/cardiac arrest calls but no other medical calls.

                            Eventually I will get my first responder certificate. At that point I'll be able to respond to all medical calls for the department. That could include any EMS call. I will be limited in what I can do on those calls. You can provide most immediate life saving treatment like CPR, Airway Management, C-Spine, Splints, Oxygen, suction and AED as well as packaging and preparing the patient for transport, but no IV's or meds.

                            It would not matter if I got my EMT-B because our department does not act as a sponsoring agency and the local EMS will not act as a sponsoring agency for firefighters so we even if I got certified I could not operate at the EMT level.

                            So to my knowledge the difference would be the IV's, Meds and a higher level of competence expected all around for EMT but since I don't intend on becoming an EMT as a career there would be no real purpose to me getting that certification.

                            You should probably check with your officers or some one who is a certified first responder in your department to see how it works there.
                            FIREFIGHTERS CANNOT direct traffic. CALL LAW ENFORCEMENT. Volunteer departments seem to think this is their responsibility. If I were you, I'd become an EMT. You can do more and it is a job you can fall back on. There is not much diffrence in the classes. You can also assisst the ambulance when they get on scene.

                            Originally posted by tree68 View Post
                            Interesting. According to the Tennesee EMS website, TN doesn't have a basic EMT as such. CFR, then "EMT IV", which I believe would generally be called an "intermediate" or "advanced" elsewhere. After that it's paramedic.

                            So you're right - it wouldn't do you any good to progress beyond CFR unless your FD is an ALS provider or you went to work (or volunteered) for an agency that was.

                            New York has several levels. CFR, EMT-D (same as EMT-B, but with AED), AEMT-Intermediate (can do IVs), AEMT-Critical Care (ALS), and Paramedic.

                            EMT-D's can be upgraded to give certain meds, and AEMT-I can shock with a manual defribillator. The I's are a dying breed. Most folks with an I card are on their way to a higher level.

                            My FD is BLS only, but I am an AEMT-CC. I run with an ALS ambulance agency as well and can practice at the ALS level there. At the FD, it's BLS only.
                            EMT-IV is TN basic cert. It will be in the future Advanced, but now it just adds IVs to the EMT skill set.
                            FF/Paramedic

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by TNFF319 View Post
                              FIREFIGHTERS CANNOT direct traffic. CALL LAW ENFORCEMENT. Volunteer departments seem to think this is their responsibility.
                              In NY, volunteer FF's can direct traffic. I've completed the "fire police" course and have been duly sworn in. I don't have any police powers (ie, arrest) as such, but I can do crowd control and traffic control at incidents.

                              We often don't have enough law enforcement available to handle the traffic control aspect of an MVA, but we almost always have enough fire police, and we can always call for mutual aid, which we recently did for a bad accident at a busy rural intersection. One of the logical points to re-route traffic was in a neighboring department's district and we called on them to handle it.
                              Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

                              Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

                              Comment

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