What is an Emergency Medical Responder?

Instructor: Adrianne Baron

Adrianne has a master's degree in cancer biology and has taught high school and college biology.

We will take a look at what an emergency medical responder is and what they do. Their level in emergency medicine and training will be briefly discussed.


Emergencies! They have a way of popping into our lives. There are some emergencies that are not very serious, like realizing you forgot your cell phone at home or spilling your coffee on your shirt on your way to an interview. Other emergencies are way more serious such as car accidents, heart attacks, and heat strokes.

The more serious emergencies are likely to require the help of someone else in order to be sure the emergency doesn't turn into a tragic loss of life. We tend to find ourselves at the mercy of whoever is around and those who show up when these emergencies arise in our lives. If you are lucky, your life-threatening emergency will happen in front of a physician or right in front of a hospital.

Emergency Medical Responder

Emergencies don't seem to happen in such fortunate ways though, so you will need others to help you stay alive until you can get under the care of a physician at a hospital.

EMRs perform first aid
Picture of a first aid box

There are people that are trained to give basic first aid and do cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR for short, which is the manual pumping of blood and breathing. These individuals that are there to attempt to sustain life are known as emergency medical responders. You may see this title abbreviated as EMR. They used to be called first responders since they are often the first ones to respond in the event of a medical emergency.

The level of medical care that an emergency medical responder gives is minimal. They are basically trained to help you stay alive until a more medically trained professional can treat you. Essentially, anyone that knows CPR and first aid that shows up to help someone who needs medical attention is an emergency medical responder. EMRs work at the scene of the emergency only.

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