Event safety guide for event organisers

Last updated: 25 January 2022

10. First aid and medical cover

“A ‘First Aider’ is a person who holds a current certificate of first-aid competency issued by the three voluntary aid societies (or certain other bodies or organisations); St John Ambulance, British Red Cross Society and, St Andrew’s Ambulance Association or South Central Ambulance Service. The first aider should have prior training or experience in providing first aid at crowd events.

Note: The completion of a ‘Health and Safety at Work’ or four day ‘First Aid at Work’ course does not necessarily qualify a person as competent to administer first aid to members of the public”.

The guidance is not specific about what “certain other bodies or organisations” means. It also specifies that:

“First Aiders, ambulance and medical workers should:

  • be at least 16 years old and not over 65 years old
  • Also, first aiders under 18 years old must not work unsupervised
  • have no other duties or responsibilities
  • have identification to include proof of membership to any professional bodies
  • have protective clothing including a high-visibility jacket or tabard so that they can be easily identified
  • have relevant experience or knowledge of requirements for first aid at major public events
  • be physically and psychologically be equipped to carry out the assigned roles

First Aid at Events is not about having “a mate who does a bit of first aid equipped with a box of plasters”, nor is it necessarily having the company First Aider, appointed under the Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981, providing services to members of the general public, unless they are competent and comfortable to do so. Public First Aid is a very different scenario to the workplace.

First Aiders should not have other jobs to do as well – for example stewarding or security, although that does not stop stewards or security personnel from being first –aid trained. The question one must ask is if the first aider is doing first aid, who is doing the other job that was assigned to that person.

First Aiders need to be equipped to do the job and have access to a facility in which they can work. Consider Patient confidentiality and dignity.

First aider competency

People undertaking this role should be appropriately trained. Some events, for example, those deemed to be high risk, may require a paramedic/nurse/doctor to be present. People contracting their services as a qualified medical professional should be a member of a regulating/governing body such as the GMC/NMC/HCPC and be listed on the national register. You should ask for their membership number and check this against the national register. Event medical providers who have Paramedics should be able to provide names and registration numbers of those staff registered as Paramedics with the Health and Care Professionals Council. Doing so will ensure the contracted individual is deemed fit/legally able to practise and that they also conform to the standard that is regulated by their registering body. It is recommended that you only use registered professionals, although we can-not enforce this. SCAS, in conjunction with the Safety Advisory Group, are happy to assist with any queries regarding any of the above. However, please note that we are unable to recommend any individual first aid or event medical companies.

Medical cover guidance