Today’s correspondent asks:
What is the difference between FIRST RESPONDER and FIRST RESPONSE?
I believe responder applies to medical/first aid and response applies to responding to fires/floods/police incidents etc.
Is there any clear cut legal definition (in Queensland)?
Language is an ever changing thing, as people invent or assign terms. I am aware that the concept of ‘First Responder’ has grown in first aid/event health service circles as practitioners and companies adopt titles to distinguish skill levels, ‘First Aider’, ‘First Responder’, ‘Advanced Responder’, ‘EMT’ and, before 1 December 2018, ‘Paramedic’. Those terms (other than ‘paramedic’ since the start of registration) mean whatever the person using the term wants it to mean.
So ‘first responder’ and ‘first response’ are just plain English language terms. ‘First response’ means the ‘reaction to something’ ‘coming before all others in time or order’. The first response to a fire, flood etc is the first reaction. First responders are those that respond first. It is a truism that the first responders to nearly any event are not the emergency services but the people on scene.
In the emergency services context, first aiders may be badged ‘first responder’ but as I say, there is not ‘clear cut legal definition’ of what that means. It means whatever the person putting the badge on the uniform wants it to mean. In terms of ‘first response’ that may be a term of art in the fire, police and emergency services sector but how they use the term is a matter for them; again there is not legal definition of the concept.
Here in lies another problem.
Where does the community fit into this terminology, I would say that the community are the first responders and that the emergency services are emergency responders.
First responders are doing what they can until the emergency responders arrive and take over the scene.
With the government doing more for the community, and the community expecting more off the emergency responders the community have little to no resilience to emergency events.
Lets leave the term first responder to describe the community and get them off twitter and facebook livestreaming someones anguish, and give them a task to help minimise the impact of the event,